Other common names: Saddleback Pig
The British Saddleback is a breed of domestic pig created in the 20th century by crossbreeding two similar breeds, the Essex Saddleback and the Wessex Saddleback. These two breed societies merged in 1918 and in 1967 the herd books were combined and the animal was renamed the "British Saddleback". The British Pig Association (BPA) is responsible for the Breed Standard.
Appearance / health:
According to the British Saddleback Breeders' Club, "The British Saddleback is a striking animal being black with a white unbroken band over the shoulders and down to both front feet. They may also have white hind feet, a white tail tip and white on the snout but this is not necessary. They have lop ears over their heads. Belted pigs of this type occur around the world and it is a standard colour pattern that occurs in certain genotypes of the domesticated pig. Just because this pattern occurs in different breeds in different countries, does not mean that they are necessarily related. The body is both deep and long reflecting its advantages both as an excellent breeding animal and as a producer of high quality meat."
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:
British Saddlebacks are hardy and noted for their mothering ability. The breed continues to be used mainly to provide coloured dams for the production of first-cross porkers, baconers and heavy pigs. The breed is known for its grazing ability and is very hardy. It has secured a niche in outdoor and organic production.
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.
best tasting meat, hardy pigs, great mothering instinct, low maintenance, rough land, friendly breed
high quality milk, indoor systems, funny barking, Great Rare Breed, scratch rub
A Great Rare Breed for Beginners, but keep the kids out!
I love pigs! This is worth mentioning as my review is naturally going to be somewhat biased as a result…
The very first pigs I got on my smallholding were British Saddleback, and I have enjoyed keeping and helping others keep them ever since. These are a very friendly breed, who love a good scratch behind the ears and will lie down expectantly the moment you show any sign that you might tickle their tummies. In a way, they are almost like dogs, even to the point that they make funny barking sounds when they’re excited.
However, these are definitely not pets! Of all the breeds I have worked with, these are the most ‘foot hungry’, by which I mean, they will bite at your feet and trip you up and they are extremely powerful animals. Do not mistake their friendliness for that of a pet dog - they will no doubt much up your children given half a chance!
Despite that, I still love them. They are playful, boisterous and really pile on the weight. Ultimately these pigs are for the table, and British Saddlebacks do not disappoint and can easily reach 60-65kg in six months, by which time you’ll be itching to get them off to the abattoir.
They do very well outdoors, though they are prone to sunburn on the white strip across their shoulders, so it is important to give them a wallow (i.e. mud) during hot spells. They are easy to house, easy to keep, easy to get into a trailer, easy to train to an electric fence - they’re just generally easy pigs. I wouldn’t keep them in my garden though, as they do not always respect the electric, I have found them in the past hiding in the goat shed on the other side of the field.
If you want to start out with pigs for the table, these are the fellows to go with. Try and get girls, though, as they are slightly less boisterous..
From Phin Hall Jan 20 2013 2:27PM
What A Pig.
This beautiful creature is somewhat of a novelty to own for the new farmer or smallholder. Despite what you may or may not know about pigs, the Saddlebags for me has been a winner from day 2. I defy anyone who can look at a young Saddleback piglet with nothing but love dripping from their eyes. These creatures are well tempered in my experience even around my young daughter at arms length; The sows possess a great mothering instinct and like any good hound, provide loyalty towards their owners given that they are given the proper attention.
As I am able to to work the full circle of life with the pigs that I've owned, the Saddleback has provided our family with the best tasting meat that a pig can give. There is nothing better than being paved with the respect of a rasher that does not shrink in the pan. The taste is truly something to behold. You will not go wrong with this pure breed of pig if you have the means to feed it. Along with the culinary delights it provides, it also provides an invaluable service to the growing field, which, with no tractor on this farm, feeds my soil plenty of goodness while clearing the way for great tasting crops in the new season..
From mab_shawn Feb 7 2014 4:49AM