Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
By Phin Hall
Posted Jan 20, 2013
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.