“Factory” raised pigs, which are raised in vast numbers on the super hog house, are engineered for optimum meat production but are sterile, bland, and tasteless. They will not do as well on a homestead or small farm operation because you may be giving your pigs more space to roam, and factory breeds may lack any of the more conventional pig habits and instincts. They will need a lot of feed and will not be as adaptable to consuming brush and grass as heritage breeds are. Commercial pigs are often usually leaner than heritage breed pigs.
Heritage Pig Breeds
A heritage breed is one that was produced prior to the popularity of commercial farming. These are old-fashioned pigs raised in European and American backyards and barnyards, pigs chosen for their ease of rearing, tastes, and hardiness. Heritage breed hogs can reliably forage on grass and brush, obtaining almost all of their nutrition from it.
Pigs can get the bulk of their nutrients from grass, and if supplemented with dairy and hay when fresh pasture isn't available, they don't need to be fed commercial hog feed. This regimen is more likely to favor heritage breeds than commercial pig breeds.
Here are some of the more common heritage breed pigs, along with a brief overview of their personalities and other characteristics. There are hundreds of pig breeds, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.
American Yorkshire Pigs
Originally from England, American Yorkshire Pigs ironically, however, were more produced in the US. It is particularly popular for bacon and ham and is famous for its good meat and maternity skills.
Their very delicious, darker meat is known to Berkshires. For small farmers, they are a common niche breed. It is one of the oldest recognized races. Berkshires are robust, aggressive foragers and mature up to around 600 pounds. They are curious, polite, and have a positive temperament in terms of personality.
Gloucestershire Old Spots Pigs
Gloucestershire Old Spots, also known as GOS spots, are made in England and are traditionally used for oak cleaning. Very few of them are in the USA and you will have to wait for them on the waiting list. GOS is smoother in the skin, and in colder, more sunny climates may need much shade. In about seven months, GOS hit market weight.
This is one of the oldest existing American races. A white belt, including the front thighs, is over the front of the torso. These are excellent pigs, highly robust, and produce high-quality meat. A decent pig for beginners should be Hampshire.
A lean meat hog is Herefords. They are regarded as 'beautiful,' and often used for 4-H and FFA fairs. They are suitable for pasture or semi-confined areas. Herefords rooting and tilling are excellent. These pigs are widely available in the United States with a strong breeding population.
Large Black Pigs
Big, thrifty blacks are easy to handle. Originating in England, they are sometimes called Cornwall, Devon, or Lop-eared Black. It has a long and deep body since it was first bred as a pig-type. Big Blacks are excellent at weeding and were bred in raw conditions initially, they are thus very adaptable. Its dark pigmented skin makes it sunburn resistant.
Originally from England, Tamworth pigs are less than some other breeds. They are especially good at making plenty of delicious bacon.
Below are the positive effect of cross-breeding;
Effect of Negative Selection
Pig production might sound complicated but it is an interesting way to make money and also create a hobby in farming.