Wednesday, 19 April 2017

P is for Pigs …




Most of our breeds are descended from feral pigs … yet archaeological evidence in the Near East (Tigris Basin) tell us that pigs were around 13,000 years ago …

Pig varieties happily munching


Sus Scrofa is the name given by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 to the wild boar, subsequently amended to Sus Scrofa Domesticus, a sub species.


Most of our breeds are descended from crosses between the long-legged, rangy, indigenous types and the small fat pigs imported from China in the late 18th century.


Wallowing Whites

A number of breeds became extinct in the 20th century … but two of the breeds have been used for a new pig in the US – Cumberland crossed with the Lincolnshire Curly-Coated – created the Chester White.






Pannage - men knocking acorns down
for the pigs to feed on ... 
In earlier times pigs foraged in woodland for acorns and beech-mast, and the right of pannage …  a right or privilege granted to local people on common land or in royal forests … it is still practised in the New Forest.


Rare Breeds considered Vulnerable or at Risk …

Berkshire Boar
Berkshire Pigs – the oldest pedigree recorded pig and was historically favoured as a specialist pork producer …


Three famous Berkshires: the Empress of Blandings in PG Wodehouse’s ‘Blandings Castle’, as too Napoleon in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, and the sow Pig-Wig in Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Pigling Bland’ …


British Lop - is one of the white, lop eared pig breeds once associated with the Celtic regions.


Saddleback Boar
Saddleback - is an amalgamation of the Essex and Wessex Saddlebacks - for the best traits of both types.   It was used for crossing with a white boar for outdoor production … it is on the endangered list …



Gloucester Old Spot with
other breeds



Gloucester Old Spot – is commonly known as the Orchard Pig … evolving as a hardy breed able to survive on by–products of whey and windfall apples.







Large Black - whose ears can cover their
eyes as here ... 

Large Black - a long, deep-bodied pig, known for its hardiness and suitability for extensive farming … it is the rarest historic pig breed in the UK, but is being monitored to preserve it …






Tamworth piglets
Tamworth - most pig breeds in the UK are black or white, but the Tamworth is a distinctive ginger colour.  It probably was a cross from the Axford pig, imported from the West Indies in the mid 19th century and bred on Sir Robert Peel’s estate in Tamworth …


Tamworth - narrow bodied,
with a longer snout




The Tamworth is highly suited to both quality pork and bacon … and who doesn’t love a good roast, or some delicious bacon …







Roast pork with perfect looking crackling


That is P for Popular Pigs for Pork or Bacon  … from Aspects of British County Rare Breeds …




Counties with the letter P
(note some Counties have been retired!, or amended over historical local government … but some I’ve included)
England: Peterborough
Northern Ireland: None
Scotland:  Peeblesshire; Perthshire
Wales:  Pembrokeshire


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

46 comments:

Denise Covey - Author said...

Hi Hilary! Whoever knew there were so many different kinds of pigs? Some are quite pretty, aren't they? And I don't think I've ever seen a ginger pig?

Elephant's Child said...

I believe they are incredibly intelligent animals too.
And I loved the Empress of Blandings. She had her humans at her beck and call, feeding her, scratching her back, and feeding her some more.

Diane S said...

Friends down South have Tamworth pigs and they say they are the best!
We have also had friends who have had 'pet' pigs and I am led to understand they make wonderful pets. Never tried it myself but.....
Hope all is well Diane

Sue Bursztynski said...

Yes, I have heard they make good pets. They're apparently as bright as dogs, yet they're bred only to be eaten. Sad! :( A friend of mine whose family had a farm told me that they had a pig which, like Babe, thought it was a sheepdog and was the wonder of the district till her father, who was much less sentimental than Farmer Hoggett, slaughtered it for pork!

Courtney Turner said...

Too bad most pigs these days are factory farmed and stuck in industrial pens. What is beech mast? I suppose I can look it up. Maui Jungalow

Kalpanaa M said...

Pigs are such sweethearts and what a veritable breed encyclopaedia you are. They're like dogs - almost as many breeds. Although i used to eat pork I can't anymore because I like pigs. And other animals too :)

Bob Scotney said...

Of all your rare breed posts so far this is the one where I recognise most of the animals you mention. Wodehouse, Orwell and Potter make great fictional connections.

Pat Garcia said...

My granddad had a farm and he had some prized pigs. In fact, he was very proud of the pigs he bred. So, your article was a trip down memory lane for me. It reminded me of how much care my granddad took in breeding his pigs.

Shalom aleichem,
Patricia

Nilanjana Bose said...

I wonder what the advantage would be to have ears long enough to cover eyes? Did it evolve by natural selection or breeding, very intriguing either way... I think I read somewhere the use of pig tissues/enzymes in transplants/ medicine as they are a close match to humans. It's more of a challenge getting fresh pork items in Bahrain, only frozen/tinned/processed, Egypt that way was way better.

Vinodini Iyer said...

Hi Hilary, I find pigs very cute. Wouldn't have known that there are so many varieties of pigs had I not read this.

Jean Davis said...

I guess I've never really paid attention to all the different kinds of pigs. We mostly have one kind that is raised on a farm for meat so seeing the variety is a nice change. It would seem that the black ones with the ears over the eyes would be rather inconvenienced by that.

FinnBadger said...

One of my favorites of your alphabet so far.

Love the Tamworths in particular.

Phillip | P is for Paper Bags

Trudy said...

I didn't realize there were so many breeds of pigs, and didn't know any of them are becoming endangered.

The photo of the Tamworth piglets made me smile. Cute!

Trudy @ Reel Focus
Food in Film: Pancakes

Emily Bloomquist said...

Pedigree pigs - two words I would not have thought of together until now. I learn something new every day from your posts!

Emily | My Life In Ecuador

Jo said...

Funny I never think of pig breeds, to me pigs are either wild or tame. I didn't realise there were so many different ones.

Arpan Ghosh said...

Pigs really are more remarkable than they're given credit for (what with all the oinking and rolling around in mud and whatnot). But they're also delicious, so that's a dilemma.

Deborah Weber said...

The more I learn about pigs the more amazed I become. I'm sure I wouldn't want to meet a feral one, but I'd certainly like to see a long-eared one. I wonder if their hearing is extraordinary, or they just make good eye flaps. :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Denise –well I’ve learnt loads from this series of A-Zs … and these are only the Rare Breed animals … and yes pretty, yes good to eat and yes good to rear … I love the Ginger Tamworths …

@ EC – I think you are right there – pigs are intelligent, as well as independent … and the pigs we find in literature are special …

@ Diane – well that’s good they are so happy with their Ginger Tamworths … and pigs for pets – not for me, or you by the sound of it … but each to his own …

@ Sue – I’m not sure about the pet bit – but as you and Diane both mention that calling, I’ll believe you! Then your story about your friend’s family farm … oh dear their Father-Farmer Hoggett was a bit cruel to his children. Still it’s the way of a farm …

@ Courtney – yes pigs are not treated very kindly as they are farmed these days … Beech Mast is the ‘mat’ of nuts that sit on the beech woodland floor – that pigs love to forage in …

@ Kalpanaa – we used to keep pigs after the War, but I’ve never been a particularly animally kind of child or now elderly adult! I still eat pork and lamb and beef … not all the time – I do go veggie quite often and eat a lot of fish …

@ Bob – that’s good … there are lots of Rare Breeds out there … and then of course the literary tie in … which give character to the pigs …

@ Pat – that’s wonderful I’ve been able to give you a trip down memory lane to your grandparents’ time … and how careful your grandfather was in his rearing … lovely to read about …

@ Nila- yes well re the long ears – there will be an evolutionary reason – what I’ve no idea. Last night they were explaining about horns, tusks and antlers as weapons on animals … that shed some light on evolution … I’ll try and find out ….

Yes we have transplanted pig organs and use pigs in trials as they do resemble humans in many ways – again I’ll have to check up …

I love roast pork – but I can imagine trying to get pork in Bahrain would be tricky – interesting that in Egypt you could get hold of fresh pork …

@ Vinodini – it’s surprising isn’t it how many varieties there are …

@ Jean – I know of the different breeds but have never really paid much attention. We are getting specialised farmers who market their produce via local markets – which is really good. I think the ears covering the eyes are there for a reason – possibly to keep sunlight out of the eyes … that would be my guess – evolution is an amazing process …

@ Phillip – oh good … delighted and happy to please … the Tamworths are a delight to see aren’t they …

@ Emily – the oxymorons of life! Pedigree pigs – they fit together well …

@ Jo – when I’ve been looking at all the various breeds I’m amazed at what I’ve been finding … we are now breeding boars to eat here …

@ Arpan – yes you’re right about them not being given credit for their attributes – apart from the positively delicious supper or dinner dish!

@ Deborah – I think all animals offer so much more than we cursorily give them credit for. The feral boars are not a good idea to meet anywhere – rough and determined guys. I think the long ear flaps are probably for protecting their eyes from the sun – that’s my guess … I’ll try and find out …

Thanks everyone – the pigs will be delighted to know they’ve been so well received! I’m having fish for supper!

Liz A. said...

Is there a British thing about pigs? I only ask as I've read books by British authors where hog or pork is used quite frequently in important names, which seems like pigs are important. Just an observation.

Keith's Ramblings said...

At the risk of sounding like everyone else, I had no idea there were so many breeds. I'm going to a hog roast at the weekend. I wonder what will be (or was!)

...and no, my butcher friend from Heathfield had never heard of hogget!

Another day in Amble Bay!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hillary
Now if I were to combine the two, you'd have pigs bicycling in pairs. Now that would be a sight.
Nancy

Shirley Corder said...

Huh! And here I thought a pig was a pig! Well, until it became roast port or bacon that is. Thanks for the insight! P is for Plan with Purpose as you Build a Better Blog. #AtoZchallenge.

John Holton said...

Having grown up in the "Hog Butcher of the World," I like pigs. The ginger ones are cute...

Rebecca Douglass said...

Pigs. They get a bum rap, not to mention ending up as bacon, but they are interesting animals. I'm not at all fond of the feral pigs that wreak havoc in many California woodlands.

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C.D. Gallant-King said...

Man that's a lot of pigs! Some of them are kinda cute, but others are a little hideous.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Liz - do you know ... I really don't know - perhaps it's just different from a horse, or a cow ...I will certainly bear the question in mind ...

@ Keith - lucky you - I love hog roasts ... enjoy ... and oh interesting your butcher friend hadn't heard of a hoggett - it's a 2 year old lamb ... but that's life I guess - may be it's not used down here - but it must be - oh well!

@ Nancy - I could have combined both posts ... but once the LSD had appeared in the WEP draft - I thought no ways! And yes pigs cycling on a tandem would be a slight shock to some who happened to see ...

@ Shirley - well it is a pig .. just some be fat, some be white, some be ginger, some be spotty ... but I do enjoy the bacon and the roast ...

@ John - I had to look up "Hog Butcher of the World" to get the understanding ... how fascinating and a wonderful poem - great to know about it ... and yes the ginger ones look just amazing ...
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/12840

@ Rebecca - these Rare Breeds are probably rather well looked after - it's the mass produced pigs that get the bum rap. The boars are feisty creatures ... we have trouble with them here in various parts of the country ...

@ CD - yes these are some of the Rare Breeds ... they're fun to see -and evolved purposely at some stage in the earthly life ... they'd have had a niche purpose in their life, having adapted this way ...

Cheers to you all - thanks for visiting ... Hilary

Nick Wilford said...

The saddleback is a pretty distinctive pig. Hope it manages to hang in there!

Yolanda Renée said...

Had no idea there were so many varieties! LOL
I found the ears over the eyes really odd!

But cool information!

McGuffy Ann Morris said...

Oh, I loved this post! I was born in the Year of the Pig. I love pigs...and all critters.
Put a Little Love in Your Heart
Annie at ~McGuffy's Reader~

Jz said...

I am strangely enchanted by "Sus Scrofa Domesticus"...
(And once again, you're making me hungry!)
Fun stuff, thank you! :-)

bookworm said...

Once again, so much more diversity in the heritage breeds than exists in our modern animals. It's a scary thing, not having that diversity.The Unknown Journey Ahead agingonthespectrum.blogspot.com

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Pigs are very clean animals and get a "dirty rap" when called upon to describe someone who is dirty or sloppy. One day they may even supply hearts for human transplant, no longer mere speculation or the imagination of a science fiction writer.

Even so, I do like bacon.



Leslie Moon said...

I really appreciate the work you do as it gives me a greater appreciation for breeds and how unaware we are of the threat to extinction.
Pigs are an interesting animal - Ive been charged upon by a few wild boars so have learned to keep my distance. The ginger colored pigs have such sweet faces dont they?

Thanks again for your visits
until tomorrow...

Sara C. Snider said...

I love pigs! They are one of my favorite animals, though not for eating hehe. Maybe a pig pet, someday. ;)

A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nick – yes the Saddlebacks are well named aren’t they … I think the RSBT are doing a great job …

@ Yolanda – it’s a funny old world isn’t it re varieties of things … I guess the ears protect the eyes from the sun’s rays … guess!

@ Annie – good to meet you – and am delighted you enjoyed the post and it ties in with your own year of the pig … lots of critters in these posts …

@ Jz – yes the name “Sus Scrofa Domesticus” … is a wonderful description isn’t it … sorry about the roast pork!

@ Bookworm – lots of different varieties here – sadly in the modern animals we have so often many of the traits were not worried about – thankfully the RBST are doing something …

@ Gail – I’m sure pigs are neat creatures … and most animals are – they’ve a way of looking after themselves … also there’s lots of work going on with pigs and transplants … as you say no longer in the imagination …

Bacon and roasts – too good!

@ Leslie – many thanks – I’m just glad everyone is happily picking up the information and becoming more aware. Boars can be troublesome if we interrupt their way of life. Those Tamworths are the pick of the bunch apparently …

@ Sara – ok no eating of the porkie beasts – but a pet pig – why not … they are fun creatures …

Thanks so much to you all – cheers Hilary

D.G. Hudson said...

Pigs are fine for eating, but in actual fact, most of the 'hogs' I've seen are surly, noisy, stinky critters. It happens to be one of my fave foods (roast pork, etc) If we go to Mars, I hope they take the pig DNA with them to ensure they continue.

Susan Scott said...

Some of them are quite pretty, like the Tamworth. The Large Black is strange :) as is the Saddleback Boar .. Thanks Hilary, respect to the pig.

Rhonda Albom said...

My vegetarian daughter thinks pigs are cute. I can see the need to preserve their heritage but I don't think they're cute.

Laura Clipson said...

That's a lot of pigs! That roast pork looks so good...

M. Denise C. said...

I love pigs. However, I love bacon, too. There sure are a lot of breeds. The large black's ears are quite interesting. Cheers, D

Birgit said...

I'm playing catch up:) look at all the different pigs! I never thought there were that many. I wonder if each one tastes different....sorry that I went there

Sarah Zama said...

I have never considered that animals such as pigs could ever be in danger to be extinct. Thatnks for sharing this post. There's always something to learn :-)

@JazzFeathers
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Debbie D. said...

I had no idea there were so many breeds of pigs, nor that they have been around for 13,000 years! Thanks for the education, Hilary.

J Lenni Dorner said...

That is far more than I ever knew about pigs! Very interesting. Thanks for the knowledge.

Sharon M Himsl said...

Yum...sorry piggies, it's dinnertime here. I'm surprised that pigs date back 13,000 years. I have no idea when they were introduced in the u.s., and don't recall Native Americans mentioning the pig in oral tradition either. Suspect the pig was introduced like the horse....maybe from England :)

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Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ DG – I suppose we encounter pigs as we find them … and definitely agree with you that some of those adjectives apply that you utilised so effectively to describe the poor pig! They are so so good to eat aren’t they … I doubt I’ll get to Mars – so think I’m safe eating pork down here!

@ Susan – some of them are very pretty – but it’s amazing how many different traits all the animals have. Definitely respect to the pig …

@ Rhonda – thankfully we’re realising that we need to preserve all breeds … and pigs, whether cute or not!

@ Laura – yes lots of pigs to share … and roast pork I’m afraid is rather good …

@ Birgit – well I’ve only just got here to reply so I’m definitely playing catch up. I think each pig will taste differently … but perhaps not for some people …

@ Sarah – when I look at all the animals I’ve written about in the A-Z I’m just pleased to note we are at least now protecting the different species …

@ Debbie – yes life on earth is interesting isn’t it … animals have evolved as much as we have over time…

@ JL – glad you learnt something from the post – thanks for visiting …

@ Sharon – I know if roast pork is around … it is so good to eat. I expect the Spanish may have introduced pigs into the Americas … or they could have come over with the Vikings or even via the Alaskan land-bridge … it’d be interesting to know.

Thanks everyone for your visits and comments – cheers Hilary