There is one group of animals on Wild Farm that need feeding everyday regardless of the season and that is the pigs. And they want to be fed as soon as you arrive at the pen!
We keep two breeds of pigs crossing our Wild Boar sire with Tamworth/Gloucester Old Spot sows, to produce a hybrid, called an Ironage pig.
The name Iron-age reflects a time in the domestication of the pig from pure wild boar to the large variety of domestic pigs we have today. Domestic pigs have long rounded backs ( for bacon ), shortened snouts, big floppy ears and high productivity ( large litters of piglets, high yields of milk, fast growing ). In contrast Wild boar are more streamline, for running through undergrowth, with long snouts, small ears and short backs. They only produce litters of 4-5 and the piglets grow more slowly.
So the Iron-age pig is a cross between the two and probably very similar to the pig kept by man during Iron-age times. The Iron-age pigs give us the benefit of higher productivity from the domestic pig but the hardiness of the wild boar.
Iron-age piglets are stripy when they are born ( the same as pure wild boar ) and for the first couple of weeks, are quite small and vulnerable, depending entirely on their mother’s milk and keeping out of harms way from the bigger adult pigs.
But the promise of extra food soon gets the better of them and they start mixing with the main group during feed time, getting a taste for the food we give the group everyday.
Pigs are highly social and tend to move around as a group. They are also very clever so as soon as they here the rattle of the feed coming out of the feed hopper and the starting up of the ATV to carry the feed up to them, they are ready and waiting at the fence.
What we like most about our Iron-age pigs are their hardiness, resistance to any illnesses and tasty meat! By 9 months old they are ready for killing and the sausages, burgers, chops and roasts that come back from the butcher are delicious. We sell all cuts of meat off the farm and the Iron-age meat we produce is extremely popular. Added to the taste is very low food miles as our pigs are born and bred on the farm, transported just 15 miles to the abattoir and then delivered back to the farm after butchering.
Meat from Wild boar and Iron-age pigs is described as ‘red meat’, like beef and lamb, unlike pork from domestic pigs which is much paler in colour.