What is the Best Pig to Raise for Meat
Many people always wonder what the best pig to raise for meat is. There are all kinds of breeds and conditions that can influence your final meat product. The best pig to raise for meat at Heritage Farm in Maine not necessarily a heritage breed pig. Our farm prefers to have hogs that thrive in woodland settings. We like to raise pigs for meat that can handle the elements. We want to raise pigs that can withstand rain, snow, sun, heat, cold, droughts, and downpours. The best pig to raise for meat is the pig that is most adapted to your system and management style.
A lot of attention gets put onto specific breeds of pigs best suited for meat raising. On our farm, we actually like to raise a variety of breeds. At Heritage Farm Maine our pigs are raised with love and care. We raise the best pigs in the world because our pigs are healthy, happy, and strong. The best pig to raise for meat is not a specific breed, from a specific area, or farmer. No, the best pig to raise for meat is the pig that gives you the greatest happiness. The pig that works the best with you and your management system. And the pig that produces the most delicious mouth watering pork chops you’ve ever had. That is the simple secret to what is the best pig to raise for meat.
At Souder Station Farm we currently run a large mixture of breeds. Throughout the year feeder piglets are bought from neighboring farms and brought to our farm just after weaning. We raise and care for the piglets until they are fully grown and ready for market. At the time of this writing, we have no boars or sows for breeding. It is on the plans, but for right now little piglets up to 300 lb pigs are easy enough to handle without extra facilities and time. perhaps when the boy gets a little more useful. Er, I mean older.
We buy piglets from several farms in the area, and often rotate depending on farrowing schedules and availability. We buy from farms that believe in the principles of Organic agriculture. They must have animals that have access to woodlots and pasture, clean water at all times, lots of sun and exercise. Most of the farms we buy from raise a mixture of heritage breeds, as well as “commercial” or white breeds. Common heritage breeds may include Large Blacks, Tamworths, and Durocs. The common white breeds are Landrace and Yorkshire.
I’m not against buying straight white pigs either. On more than one occasion I’ve bought piglets from farmers that had less than stellar practices. Just because you CAN effectively raise a hog through its entire life cycle in a small 12×12 horse stall, doesn’t necessarily mean that you SHOULD. Some of those piglets I’ve bought from such conditions were destined for the dinner table anyhow. At least on our farm they had a chance to move around, root in the woods, wallow in mud hole in summer, and graze through the grasses. In short, at least they got to act like a pig on their way to pork chops.
So here at Heritage Farm, we support our local, sustainable, responsible, humane farm partners, and their practices. We may have an assortment of breeds, but our system produces some of the best meat around. Follow us next time as I break down one of our principles in regards to the debate over Nature vs Nurture and Pig Breed Selection