Among the many projects planned for 2019 is the addition of pigs to our farm. Last year we had an area of our lower forest logged and we are now looking to get rid of the stumpage and turn that area into fields, orchards, and a small pond. The first step in that long process is the addition of pigs to root up those stumps and turn the earth.
After a good deal of research, we settled on Tamworth pigs for our farm. Tamworths are an ancient breed of pig originating in Staffordshire, England. They are bred to live outdoors, and have strong legs capable of walking a good distance, a hearty appetite for rooting and are known to be vigorous foragers. With distinctive red fur, Tamworths gain some protection from sunburn (a common problem for pigs), and adults weigh in around 600lbs.
Sometimes called "Irish Grazers" or "Sandy Black and Tam", Tamworths are often raised for the lean bacon, but ours are here to forage. Since we have acres and acres of land that needs help, it didn't make sense to us to slaughter our pigs in the fall and start over next year. Rather, we will keep these pigs seasons after season, and they'll be actively about to start rooting as soon as the ground thaws and keep going until it freezes again. We are getting two sows, and the goal is to eventually breed our own Tamworths and offer the piglets.
It seemed as if the Tamworth pig was meant for our farm. Every breed description notes their active foraging and their hardiness in tough climates such as Maine. They are also curious and friendly pigs, very intelligent and the sows are said to produce large litters and be excellent mothers.
Our piglets will come home in late April. Before their arrival we will have to work on a training fence to get them used to electric fencing, and build a shelter for them that can be moved from one pasture spot to another as they work through our woods. That's a lot to get done considering we're also preparing for our busiest kidding season with the goats yet - but being busy is always fun when it involves baby animals.