About Me

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Fayette Co, KY, United States
I am a country girl stuck in the city, for the time-being. I enjoy the country way of life, and practice that in my home as best I can by canning and preserving foods, cooking and baking from scratch, crocheting, living vicariously thru the many blogs I follow about country life. I enjoy learning about raising livestock, and glean from my past employment and personal experiences of working with animals to fuel some of my postings. I have 5 cats, who keep my life interesting. And I am also an amateur poet. Thanks for stopping by and checking out this Farmer-gal who is caught in town, for now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gloucestershire Old Spots Pig

Gloucestershire Old Spots Pig (GOS) came from the Vale of Berkeley in England - also known as Gloucestershire. They were raised on small farms and fed dairy by-products such as whey, and fed on "drop fruits" in orchards. Making them known as "cottage pigs" or "orchard pigs". They are considered to be the oldest breed of spotted pigs.


They are a hearty breed, and can withstand harsh weather and adverse conditions. With the industrialization of agriculture after WWII, the GOS began to decline. Farmers were less interested in self-sufficient grazing breeds than they were in breeds easily kept indoors.


Gloucestershire Old Spots are said to be good foragers or grazers. This is not surprising considering the type of feeding practiced in the original home of the breed during its early development. The sows of the breed are known for large litters and high milk production. Large litter production and milk production have been characteristics sought by practical producers everywhere.

These days the GOS is making a comeback in the US. In fact, I think I've found some GOS farmers near me in KY. They're being bred to lose their spots, so they are more white than in the past. The GOS is being pasture raised, bringing back its natural trait for foraging.

I was assisted with this post by information obtained from the following websites
http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/swine/
http://www.gosamerica.org/index.html

I worked for 9 years at the University of KY Swine Research Unit - 1991 to 2000. I had to quit that job because it was a confinement system, and I just couldn't bring myself to work with pigs under those conditions any longer. If I were to raise a few pigs on my farm, when I get it, I believe I will pick the Gloucestershire Old Spots pig. To me, they are beautiful. And pigs are wonderful to work with, unless, of course, you try to make them go where they don't want to go - they tend to be a bit stubborn, and can wield their weight around pretty easily. I speak from experience here! LOL

I hope you've enjoyed this post on the GOS - maybe it's something you haven't seen before, and I hope it's peaked your interest. Take care all. And have a good week.









1 comment:

ga.farmwoman said...

About 20 years ago we raised pigs. Different breeds but we did have a few of the spotted pigs.
They were free range pigs. We had over 200 sometimes and they had 50 acres to roam on. They did not smell bad either, like people think. Actually they are a clean animal when they have access to water and land.
My boys were young and enjoyed raising the pigs and even were in the school 4H program to show pigs.
Then the market for pigs changed and so did the prices little farmers received on their selling price. Big companies took over(through the gov.) and the little folks were put out of pig raising in Georgia.
But, we are thinking of getting a couple of pigs soon here. They really are great to have around. I am sure it will be like all these other animals. They will become pets instead of food.
Great post.

Have a great day.
Pam