Is Tamworth a good pig breed to rear outdoors?
Q- I was hoping to start breeding my own pigs soon on my 15 acre smallholding, and was wondering about how suitable Tamworths would be for rearing outdoors. At the moment we have no outbuildings, only plastic arks. I was also wondering what the meat was like. Would you recommend it?
Liz Shankland replies: Tamworths are excellent for rearing outdoors! One of the reasons I chose them is that I live 800ft up a mountain and it gets very bleak indeed in winter. Their strong, wiry coats grow longer and they cope with all weathers. Mine are out all year round, even in the snow – and last year we had temperatures of -17C.
To be honest, they don't do well indoors. They need to be able to roam and get quite frustrated if they have to be housed for any length of time. I only bring mine in for farrowing – but lots of friends farrow outdoors in arks and they're absolutely fine. The meat is amazing – but then, as a Tamworth evangelist, I would say that! Seriously, though, the flavour was the other reason I chose them. Researchers at Bristol University did a scientificallybased ‘taste test’ some years back and Tamworths came out tops. They are good for both pork and bacon, whereas some breeds are one or the other.
Read more about Liz’s pigkeeping at www.lizshankland.com