Other common names: Gloucester; Old Spots; GOS; Gloucester Old Spot; Gloucestershire Old Spot
The Gloucester Old Spots Pig is a large, hardy breed which is distinguished by its black spots. Developed in Gloucestershire, England, the Gloucester Old Spot pig used to be a popular family farm pork breed. They became unpopular when intensive farming gave way to indoor-raised swine. When consumers started demanding for quality meat, preference for outdoor pigs like the Old Spots returned.
The GOS is included in the “Critical” list by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and under the “Category 5, Minority” list of the UK Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
Appearance / health:
Gloucester Old Spots are large pigs that are predominantly white in color with black and gray markings. Many individuals have very few spots. The ears are large and heavily drooped.
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.
Gloucester Old Spots are favored by homesteaders and small farmers for their calm temperament, large litters, motherly instincts, and ability to forage and thrive in pastures with little supplemental feed. Old Spots used to be called “Orchard Pigs” because they could survive on fallen apples and whey.
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.
excellent foragers, handsome, superior pork, harsh weather, friendly family pig, meat production
delicious crunchy crackling, great marble, good weaning weight, GOS Bangers, wonderful mothers
A hardy pig
A pig is a hardy animal and as friendly and loyal as a dog. This is my pet pig Jack, of The Jack of Hearts, as he is known during breeding season on our farm. Jack lives a simple life of exploration both culinary and spatial, rooting around in the soil for poison ivy vines, chewing on young saplings, or bathing in mud. A pig can be kept within a small area using a fence charger and a car battery hooked up to a simple electric fence - we use two woven lines wound around a series of plastic posts that can be put into the earth with little effort. This entire setup costs about $100.00 and is reusable year after year. Our pig's home is made of a series of wooden pallets with an old piece of corrugated metal for the roof - all of which can be acquired for free if you are vigilant. Pig homes can be made out of old truck caps, bales of hay, or old swing-sets and tarps - so long as they have a place where they can be out of the wind and the rain. A pet pig, and in this case a boar, is ideal for the homesteader because it (he) will clear the land and till the soil for planting while feeding itself in the process. A gentle boat like Jack can be rented to other farmers to sire piglets and generate income for the farm, and there is no better audience on the farm should you want to voice a worry, play an instrument, or just have a chat, just so long as you give him a good scratch. .
From warplord Apr 5 2017 1:15PM
Our Gloucestershire Old Spotted Pigs
This uniquely spotted, intelligent, docile pig is the pig of choice on the family farm. They are great foragers and provide perfectly marbled superior pork. Although they take a bit longer to get to desired weight, they are highly desirable and well worth the extra care and work.
They are rather affectionate as pigs go. We have owned many in the past and have had wonderful results with them.
Their hams are full when they become mature. Their spots are distinct and have won them registration as they are a disappearing breed.
On a consumer level, this breed of pigs is sought after. Ours are still kept outdoors where they like to be. They are comfortable in hot climates with the proper care.
They are even tempered and wander about with ease grazing on nearby fruit that has fallen from the trees. Apples being one of their favorite treats.
The sows are very loving mothers and our males were patient and never aggressive with one another..
From AvaWrites Jun 7 2014 3:18PM