Piglets at Three Pools.
In case you haven’t heard yet, our piglets have arrived and are very busy guzzling milk and keeping each other warm!
Large Blacks are a traditional breed that fell out of favour in the 60s when demand focussed on growth and feed conversion rates, and a majority shift to indoor production no longer required the hardy nature of these pigs. Fortunately, they remained a firm favourite with enough breeders and smallholders for it to survive, but today it’s still an incredibly rare breed.
In addition to their hardy characteristics, Large Blacks are good mothers and dual purpose in terms of meat; ideal for both pork cuts and bacon.
For these latest litters, we bred from 2 sows instead of 4. The number of piglets from the previous farrowings proved unmanageable: the level of impact on the ground was more than we were seeking, meaning we had to delay the following litter in order for the land to regenerate.
By halving the number of piglets we hope to breed more consistently and raise a steady supply of pigs. As well as being healthier for fertility, consistent breeding is more carbon efficient: the sows are productive all year round, rather than feeding simply for maintenance. It also means that we can avoid gluts at certain times of year and spread the manual labour of butchering, which we do here on site at Three Pools.