Other common names: Kurobuta
Regarded as “Britain’s oldest pig breed,” the Berkshire was originally raised in the British county of Berkshire (now Oxfordshire), where they used to be large and of varied colors from black to red, sometimes with spots or white patches. Crossbreeding with Chinese and Siamese breeds led to smaller, typically black pigs with white markings.
Berkshires were first introduced to the United States in the early 1800s but declined in popularity from the perception that white pigs had leaner bacon. Breeders have been raising purebred Berkshires to sustain the interest in traditional meat. Berkshires are favored in other countries, especially in Japan, where their meat is referred to as the best tasting and flavorful premium-priced “black pork”, and is trademarked as "Kagoshima Kurobuta".
Appearance / health:
Berkshires are medium to large pigs with a black body with white markings on the face, tip of the tail, and legs. The whitish snouts are dished and short to medium in length; the ears are large and erect and leaning forward. The legs are straight and relatively short.
Despite their energy and gregarious nature, pigs are sensitive animals. They are easily stressed by travel, vaccinations, extreme temperatures, and new surroundings. Stress makes them susceptible to ailments like pneumonia and bronchitis (due also to their small lungs relative to their size). They are also susceptible to animal viruses like influenza. Pigs commonly suffer from mad itch (or pseudo rabies), dysentery, and parasites (lice, ticks, and ascarid worms).
Healthy pigs have shiny hair, bright eyes, strong appetites, and high energy. Their normal temperature is 102.5F. Deviations from the normal temperature and other signs of poor health including diarrhea and coughing should promptly be brought to the attention of a veterinarian.
Behavior / temperament:
As omnivores that love to eat, pigs can be fun to watch while they explore their surroundings in search for something to munch on. They use their snouts to smell and unearth a potential meal. They are intelligent and social animals that quickly get used to the presence and affection of humans.
Some pigs are intelligent enough to learn tricks, obey commands, and use a litter box. Because they have no sweat glands, they tend to cool themselves by rolling in water or mud. The mud that dries on their skin serves as a sunscreen and protection from parasites like ticks, lice, and flies.
Housing / diet:
Pigs are active, curious animals that require room to explore, exercise, and just be their natural energetic selves. Sufficient space, relative to their size and weight, is a primary consideration because pigs that are crowded or confined to small spaces become stressed, and healthy growth and development is hindered.
Although constantly roaming and appreciative of open yards and fresh air, pigs also require a shed or housing that will let them sleep on a dry and clean area at night. Ideal ambient temperatures are 60-70F. Warm shelters with wood chip bedding are a must during cold months; water misters are recommended for the hottest months.
Pig housing should also include a feeder and a drinking water dispenser (usually a water barrel). Access to a water source makes it convenient to clean or hose out the pig shelters (and the pigs) as needed. Chain link fencing, shade trees, and a pond are recommended for backyard habitats.
Pig owners are advised to check with local authorities for legislation regarding the ownership and keeping of pigs in their homes and backyards.
As omnivores that eat plants and animals, pigs will consume almost anything that is edible like fruits, roots, flowers, grass, insects, worms, all types of meat, and even leftover scraps from the dinner table.
Unlike ruminant animals (cattle and goats), pigs have a single stomach. For healthy and fast growth, pigs require a high-energy diet composed of grain (corn, oats, wheat, barley), plus protein and vitamin supplements. Most commercially available feed for pigs combine various farm grains and the necessary supplements to ensure rapid and efficient development.
Pigs are best allowed to self-feed or eat as much as they want during the day to enable them to grow as fast as they normally can. Feeding should always include a good supply of clean, fresh drinking water.
small hobby farm, Highest quality meat, polite pigs, great temperament, excellent foragers
heritage breed, prickeared breed, Japanese chefs, old breed enthusiasts, fat marble
Playful and Sneaky Pigs
When my niece comes to visit, she loves to spend time with all the animals on our small 5 acre farm. As soon as she arrived, she put on her boots and went out to see all the animals, curious to know which ones would let them pet her. The animals share the same field. The chickens like to clean up after the cows and pigs. She started with the chickens, then went to the pigs, and then off to the cows. The thing was, she didn't know the pigs were following behind her. As she was waiting for the cow to trust her enough to pet her, the pigs were sniffing her over. "I think you have a new friend. Turn around." She turned and screamed because she was oblivious the pig was that close to her all this time. We had a good laugh and she gave the pigs the attention they were desiring. Our pigs have been so fun to watch. They make a mess and are always dirty, but they love to graze the fields, run and play, and they are very loving! Just keep moving your toes or else they will nibble them off!.
From cheezysmilegal Feb 16 2017 3:04PM