Large Black Hogs
The Large Black pig is originally native to Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset in southwestern England. It is a large breed that produces proficiently on grass & other pastured settings. One breeder has them cleaning up his acorns! The first breed association was formed in 1898.
The Large Black, being good for both pork & bacon thrived for many years but alas after World War II intensive husbandry started to become the "norm" & the Large Black along with several other outdoor breeds were no longer popular & so their numbers declined rapidly. By the 1960's they were nearly extinct & in 1973 they were put on the Critically Endangered Livestock list.
The Large Blacks were originally imported into the USA in the 1950's & then later in the 1990's. In 2009 the Large Black Hog Association & website was formed. Up until that point one very dedicated man, Ted Smith, had been running the registry & keeping all the info together. It was felt that it was time to bring the breed into the limelight once again & bring all the breeders together under one "roof" in order to further educate both the consumer & the breeder on the great qualities of this hog. You can find the website here: http://largeblackhogassociation.org/
As the name implies, the Large Black breed has a large, long frame and is solid black. Large ears fall forward over their face. Their ears protect their eyes when they are rooting & foraging. Although this breed do not see well they do have incredible hearing & will come to you just like a dog once they know their names. In fact they love & thrive on human contact. When we walk the dogs out in the pasture it is not a strange sight to see the pigs following us. The LB's enjoy a back & belly rub or their ears tickled & even the large ones will lie down & roll over enjoying a good scratch. They are very gentle & even our children roam amongst them.
The Large Black sows are known for their maternal qualities. They can raise large litters of piglets outdoors. Mature boars can weigh 700-800 lbs and sows can reach 600-700 lbs however we caution breeders to keep their breeding stock slim. Our mature breeding stock averages 300-450lbs. Overweight boars or sows do not breed well. You should never have to sell/get rid of a boar because he is too big to do his job! We have seen/bought Large Blacks this size & always slim them down which makes them not only look better but enables them to live a long, productive life.
The Large Black is a very efficient producer of pork & bacon due to its ability to glean a large portion of its food from grazing. As long as these pigs have good pasture they will not root as much as other breeds. We do NOT ring any of the pigs noses here on the farm. Now admittedly pigs are pigs and through experience we have found that some of the LB's will root a little especially after some rain but they are not rototillers! You can walk our pastures without falling in holes or walking over mud. For the most part they graze like a cow. Their black skin protects them from sunburn, enabling them to live outdoors on open pastures. When processed at around 250lbs, the pork is lean yet micro-marbled producing a delectable end product whether cooked on the grill or in the oven. This meat has earned its place in some of the most exclusive restaurants in New York and Europe.
As of now the lines that are here in the USA are as follows:
- Noble Sam
- Big Buck - actually called Iowa Alrose in the LBHA registry.
- Daisy - imported by us from Canada in 2011
- Grandeur (very rare, in fact we think it may even no longer exist :( )
We have all the lines bar Big Buck & Grandeur here on the farm.
If you are looking for a pig that will produce exceptional tasting meat as well as being hardy & able to grow well on minimum grain then make sure you seriously consider this breed. You won't regret this addition to your farm - in fact your love affair with pigs will just be beginning! Call us for more info - we are always here to talk pig & answer your questions.