Piggy things you need to know

Saddleback pigs spend late spring, summer and most of the autumn outside. Winter in this wet part of the Lake District National Park is spent in dutch barns and yards with plenty of space and fresh air ensuring strong healthy pigs. The pigs love being turned out to graze the grass and adore the their muddy wallows, after all mud is the pigs suntan cream! Sows are allowed to farrow unaided, left to their own devices, in their grassy paddocks. I work with nature keeping dry sows with the boar in family groups which allows the pigs social interaction, only isolating the sows just prior to farrowing.

Herd health

The entire pig herd is extremely healthy. Pigs exported have to have exhaustive health checks which over the years the pigs have always passed. I have a holistic view to herd health where prevention is better than cure. Homeopathy is used to boost the immune system with special herd specific preparations made by Crossgates Biogenetic Ltd. Tel: 08451308236.

Pigs for sale

Pigs of all shapes, sizes and sexes are always available through the year. Whether you just want one to weaner or a hundred pigs of mixed ages I am usually able to fix you up. All breeding pigs are sold as individual registered pedigree pigs but growing pigs are also sold just for fattening. Prices vary from £35 to £600 for a sow and litter.

Saddleback Survival Centre

The British Saddleback, once the cornerstone of the British pig is still under threat. Various lines both male and female have registered pigs which number less than ten in the whole wide world.

It is therefore important that these lines with few pigs are maintained and cultivated. One of my rarest lines is the "spot" female line which I have managed to reintroduce this year. The in pig gilt which originated from my Coal Yeat Herd was purchased from Rice Lane City Farm, Liverpool.

The British Saddleback club undertakes an annual survey which highlights the plight of these very rare lines, and indeed the breed itself. It is therefore very important to breed pedigree Saddleback pigs and notify each litter with B.P.A. The future of this breed rely's on breeders and pig enthusiasts maintaining pedigree breeding, it is not to expensive to do.

Over the last few years the British Saddleback has elevated itself off the R.B.S.T "Endangered Breed" into the "At risk" category as the breed once again expands.

The breed is now in its strongest position for a decade - but events, such as foot and mouth or dramatic increases in feed prices can quickly undermine this fragile situation.

Please breed British Saddleback pigs to protect the future of these wonderful pigs!

British Saddleback Pigs

The British Saddleback came into being in 1967 when the Essex and Wessex Saddlebacks were amalgamated into one breed. Why, because these two very similarly marked pigs, both black with a white saddle, were dwindling to such small numbers that they were in peril of extinction. Both types of Saddleback can trace their pedigrees back to 1918 when the respective breed societies were established.

The Wessex Saddleback originated from the Dorset /Hampsire border and could easily claim to be the New Forest Pig. (Was it this breed that was exported to the USA and was the foundation stock for the modern Hampshire pig?) The Essex, as the name implies, began its life in the southern part of East Anglia, and is a breed that carries more fat .

In the 21st century, after nearly 50 years of interbreeding of the Essex and Wessex genes, it is very difficult to claim that the Essex or Wessex exist. Yet the traits common to the specific breed type are still apparent in today's British Saddleback Pigs. For instance a Guardsman boar which produces excellent show-winning stock will also produce pigs too fat for today's finicky butchers, and is therefore throwing back more to the Essex pig. Similar white markings on the tip of the tail and rear legs are also an Essex trait. The Wessex by contrast tended to be a longer leaner pig with white only on the front legs and saddle, more of a butcher's pig.

For a Saddleback pig to be eligible for individual registration, it must initially be birth notified with the BPA  and out of two registered parents. It must be BLACK and have a minimum of an unbroken band of WHITE HAIR covering both front legs and joining up over the shoulders. It may also have a white tip to the tail and white on the rear legs which must not go higher than the hock and even a white nose. The ears must be lopped ie not pricked. Also obligatory in both male and female Saddleback pigs is a minimum of 12 evenly placed teats.

Advantages of the Coal Yeat British Saddleback Pigs

Saddleback pigs have been chosen as the premier breed of British Rare breed pigs because of their taste and versatility of slaughtering weights. They are genuine all round pigs equally able to be slaughtered at pork weights (50/70k DW) to produce delicious, succulent pork or taken to larger weights (90/120k DW) for bacon and manufacturing products. Unlike other British Rare Breed pigs the Saddleback is less prone to become over fat as their weight increases. The black hair pigment does not appear on the skin of the Saddleback which, when de-haired, hangs as white as any commercial white pig.

The Saddleback pig is very biddable, with an excellent calm temperament and is especially good with the beginner, novice pigkeepers and children. Treated with respect a Coal Yeat Saddleback will be your friend for life!

Prolific, Excellent Mothers, Easy to Keep

The British Saddleback of today is noted for its mothering abilities, and has long been regarded for its prolificacy. The sows regularly produce large litters, twice a year, and are renowned for their calm excellent mothering abilities, rearing a high proportion of those born. This coupled with the longevity of female lines within the Coal Yeat herd means this Saddleback is a very cost effective producer.

Saddleback pigs thrive outside, being very hardy, and due to their predominantly black colour do not suffer from sunburn, a problem with white pigs. Indeed this hardiness and ability to thrive in all conditions has enabled Coal Yeat Saddleback pigs to be found in some of the most northerly and remote areas of the UK.

Pedigree Breeding Coal Yeat British Saddleback Pigs

A pig is just a pig unless it has a registered pedigree with the BPA. All Coal Yeat breeding Saddleback pigs are individually registered. Their litters are birth notified with the BPA within 8 weeks of birth and individual piglets are tagged. Only those deemed to fulfil the breed standard are notched as potential breeding pigs. They are then checked several more times before only the best 5% are kept as breeding replacements or for sale as pedigree pigs. All pedigree British Saddleback pigs will be notched in their ears (or double tagged in as few rare instances). Be sure if you intend breeding pedigree that the breeder will transfer the individual pig's registration to you via the BPA and that this cost is included in the purchase price.

Unless both sow and the boar are pure registered papered pigs their offspring cannot be registered as pedigree pigs. This has been a problem for some people over recent years so do please ensure that unless you only intend to fatten pigs for pork that the pigs are correctly ear marked and fit to be registered. With the BPA pedigree meat scheme only birth notified Saddleback pigs can be sold as Saddleback pork.

By buying fattening pigs from the Coal Yeat Herd of pedigree Saddleback pigs you are helping to ensure the survival of this rare breed pig for future generations.

Remember we have to 'EAT THEM TO KEEP THEM'

The Coal Yeat  Saddleback is the most versatile of British rare breeds hardy, prolific, delicious, docile and a daily joy to keep!




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