I promised you a bit more info about our new Berkshire pigs – Oberon, Portia and Rosamunde. We bought them from Lorraine and David Jones, whose pig experience day Chris attended back in chilly January. We fetched our breeding trio yesterday. It was a bit of a hike, but it was an interesting drive. We passed loads of chateaux, the Greenwich Meridian line and a monument dated 1940 marking the demarcation line between occupied and Vichy France. We also came across a stringless, child sized guitar leaning against a litter bin in a layby where we stopped for a leg stretch. Being of the waste not, want not frame of mind, I stashed it in the back of the car in case Rors was interested. So that explains why there was a guitar in the photo of the pigs in the back of the Renault that I posted yesterday! On the way back we mainly saw hail. We came through some disastrous weather but made it safely.
The pigs have settled in very happily to their stable, their temporary home while we finalise (as in build) their pens outside. We’ve already discovered that Portia is quite cheeky whereas her sister is rather shy. Oberon is a happy-go-lucky character. He bosses his girls round a bit but they don’t seem to mind. All three are very friendly. We keep popping into the stable with them and scratch their ears and backs while they sniff our feet and occasionally chew our shoelaces. They grunt away contentedly, and Rosie squeaks. It’s very cute.
Our Berkshires are from the Freight Train and Orlando bloodlines. Aren’t those great names? I shall be blogging about bloodlines again since they’re actually very interesting. The breed dates back to the 1790s. Originally Berkshires were a tawny red pig with black spots. In the early 1800s, Chinese or East Asian blood was introduced which has given the breed more compact ears and head. There’s a club for Berkshire Pig breeders at www.berkshirepigs.org.uk. Maybe we’ll join one day. We’re only novices at the moment!
Berkshires are handsome, hardy, placid pigs and very productive. They’re also delicious! Lorraine and David gave us some Berkshire pork and we’ve eaten it tonight. It’s fine in texture and a super flavour. We’ve also enjoyed our first proper crackling for years. That results from the lean meat to fat ratio in this breed.
I’m pretty sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about our pigs in the future.
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