Tamworth Pig

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Other common names: Sandy Back; Tam

The basics:
The Tamworth pig originated in Ireland, where it was called "The Irish Grazer". In 1812, Sir Robert Peel brought some of these pigs to his estate in Tamworth, Staffordshire and they began to be selectively bred.

According to the UK's Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), "The Tamworth is considered Britain’s oldest pure breed and is similar in appearance to the Old English Forest Pig. Of all the native breeds the Tamworth experienced the least influence from imports of Asian pigs during the 18th and 19th centuries."

Today, Tamworths are known for producing lean pork, and quality bacon. Unfortunately, with the popularity of faster growing, more commercial swine, heritage breeds like the Tamworth have become much less common, and the Tamworth is classified as being "at risk" by the UK's Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).

Appearance / health:
According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, "The characteristics of the Tamworth reflect the breed’s centuries of selection for an outdoor life. Pigs of this breed were expected to find their own food, especially mast (or acorns) of oak and beech forests. Long heads and impressive snouts enable these pigs to be efficient foragers. Long, strong legs and sound feet give Tamworth pigs the ability to walk for considerable distances. Ginger red coats make the pigs adaptable to a variety of climates and protect them from sunburn. Tamworths have an active intelligence, and they are agreeable in disposition. Sows are prolific, able to produce and care for large litters. The piglets are vigorous and often have 100% survivability. Both sexes of this breed reach a mature weight of 500-600 lbs (227-272 kg)."

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.

The Tamworth is considered to be an active breed. It is an excellent forager and will rustle behind cattle. Tamworths are also known for their good mothering skills.

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) 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.


meat, strong little weaners, decent slaughter weights, pastured pork systems, delicious bacon pig


electric fence, low litter sizes, little escape artist


rare breed, obey electric fence, heritage breed animal, primitive instincts, superb natural fertiliser

Tamworth Pig Health Tip

Tamworth Pig

From jadedknightly Jul 11 2015 12:18PM


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