Ashanti Black Pig

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Other common names: Local Black Pig, Ashanti Dwarf Pig, Ashanti Black Forest Pig, West African Dwarf Pig, Nigerian Black Hairy Pig

The basics:
Domestic pigs are not native to West Africa and how this pig breed arrived on the continent is still a matter of debate. Either it is a descendant of the wild pigs first domesticated in Egypt almost 9,000 years ago, or it is a descendant of the Iberian pigs brought to the continent by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century (native African warthogs and bush pigs belong to a different genus and cannot interbreed with domestic pigs).

This is a very hardy pig breed that typically subsists by scavenging. They are more active than introduced breeds an much less susceptible to heat stroke. They are better at scavenging and rooting and are resistant to the majority of local diseases and parasites. However, they are much more prone to put on fat than modern breeds. They also tend to grow slower, but this may be associated with their known heat resistance. This breed of pig is also very unusual in that it can digest much more fibrous matter than other pig breeds. So it can consume just about any root vegetable and plant matter.

Typically the Ashanti Black Pig produces a litter of 5 to 7 piglets and mortality is high so that there are typically 4 piglets at weaning.

Both in Ghana and Nigeria the native dwarf pigs are being extensively bred with 'exotic' European breeds (most notably the Landrace) to produce animals with the longer bodies and higher growth rates of the exotic breeds, but which retain the disease resistance and temperament of the native breeds. Because of this the pure Ashanti Black pig or Nigerian Black Hairy pig is becoming increasingly rare and there is a major initiative by the respective countries' breeding stations to preserve the breed because of its potentially advantageous genetics.

The Ashanti Pig is one of only two known 'native' West African breeds, the other being the red Guinea Hog, which is now extinct.

Appearance / health:
The Ashanti Dwarf pig is a small, rough-coated animal that has a long and narrow head with a prolonged snout. Along the tail is a belt of longer-raised bristles. The coat is typically black and hairy (even hairier in the Nigerian breed), though red-coated, brown-coated and even white individuals do occur. They often have paler underbellies, which is a feature of pig breeds seen in Egyptian tombs. Like all 'indigenous' pig breeds they are characterized by medium, semi-erect and swept back ears and their straight tails. They are also notable in that they can survive in the dry season without much food or water. This is a small pig, growing to no more than 50cm at the withers.

Like all native breeds, the Ashanti Black Pig is generally resistant to the main local diseases. It is also very resistant to heat and heat stroke. It should be noted that where pigs are left to scavenge on their own under traditional management systems the pigs scavenge for food at backyards and they drink muddy, parasite infested water under ditches. Consequently they ingest many parasites and such internal parasites as lungworms (Metastongylus species), intestinal round worms (Ascaris lumbricoides), nodular worms (Oesophagostomum spp.) and kidney worms (Strephenurus dentatus) are common in these pigs. Under more intensive production systems a regular worming regimen will take care of these problems.

Behavior / temperament:
Ashanti Black pigs are known as active animals and given the opportunity they will forage widely. And though piglet mortality is high, this is more to do with poor diet than the pig's innate mothering abilities. Like many West African breeds the pigs have been bred to be both docile and very easy to manage. This would make an excellent pet breed, but is not available outside West Africa.

Housing / diet:
Under traditional management systems, unless they are reared in urban locations, pigs are typically housed (this is to prevent them from destroying crops). They are typically either fed cassava especially grown for them, the residues from beer brewing (typically based on millet) or the leftovers from tree crop processing (baobab, banana and oil palm in the main).


native pig breed, disease tolerant


West Africa

Ashanti Black Pig Health Tip

Ashanti Black Pig

From DLlE Sep 15 2012 5:45AM


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