One of our Duroc gilts with new litter
The Duroc originated in the early 1820’s in America. It rapidly gained popularity throughout the 1800’s and became a popular choice because of its fertility, hardiness, docility, carcass quality and growth rate. These are still the great qualities that these pigs have today, and although they made leaps and bounds across America to become one of the most popular breeds there today, the same cannot be said for Australia. Durocs were introduced into Australia for the first time in the early 1900’s where they enjoyed a brief popularity. This was fleeting and after the First World War, they became extinct here in 1922. They were re-introduced in the 1980’s from bloodlines from Canada and New Zealand, and this time they survived. At present there are only a handful of breeders across Australia with Durocs, but most of these are dedicated to preserving the bloodlines that are left.
Like the Tamworth, they are red in colour and this helps them deal with the strong sun in summer. The colour varies from a lighter almost yellow to a dark red approaching mahogany. They are a large pig with a high, muscular loin, big hams, heavy bone and broken ears. Hair moults completely in summer and can be very coarse in winter, especially on boars. It is best to select finer haired breeding stock as their progeny will clean up better. They are very hardy and tolerate cold equally as well as heat, making them an ideal candidate for outdoor pig farming. Duroc pigs tend to have a reputation as aggressive pigs, we have not found this to be so. With selective breeding over the generations we have very docile lines of both boars and sows, and we produce a lot of pure Durocs from different bloodlines.
When selecting gilts for breeding, it is important that they are not too lean and muscular, as gilts with these traits carry less fat and will not have as much milk during lactation, and tend to dry up quite early which will mean small piglets. This is much more of an issue when breeding pure Durocs suited to outdoor production as it is for indoor production, where piglets are typically weaned earlier and sows will loose much less weight.
Both purebred and crossbred Durocs are very good for producing a heavy carcass with minimal fat, and tend to have a very dark meat with intra-muscular marbling. This helps to keep the meat moist and flavoursome once cooked. Durocs are our sire of choice over any breed of sow and produce healthy, fast growing piglets well suited to heavy pork and bacon production.
One thing to consider if you are thinking of breeding pure Durocs is their size, the boars and sows get very big indeed with boars reaching up to 450 kg (and sometimes more) and sows up to around 350 kg. They can be very protective mothers, particularly for the first week, so care needs to be taken around new litters. We've never found this to be a problem, and we have yet to loose any of our piglets to predators so this type of mothering definitely has its benefits!
If you have any enquirers for breeding stock, please get in touch as soon as possible to ensure we can have stock available when you need it.
Like the Duroc, Hampshires have their origins in America. They were originally imported into America from Hampshire in England in the early 1820’s, where they quickly gained popularity and a reputation for producing a well muscled, lean carcass. Because of this they were highly sought after by butchers and were known locally as the “thin rind” breed because of the abundance of lean meat they produced with minimal back fat. They were developed over many years in America to become the magnificent modern breed that they are today.
Hampshire pigs were only introduced into Australia in the 80’s, with the re-introduction of the Durocs, again from Canadian and New Zealand bloodlines. Because of this late introduction and the limited numbers, they are now the most critically endangered breed of pig in Australia today, with only a handful of breeders maintaining pure bred herds. There are also very few boar and sow lines left.
While they have very similar colouring to Wessex Saddleback pigs, the similarities end there. Hampshires are a lean, muscular pig with a wide chest, muscular loin and prick ears.
Although the sows are good mothers and make for a very good outdoor pig, their primary use is as a terminal sire for meat pigs. In the United States and Canada they are used extensively as a terminal sire and are very highly regarded for producing lean, fast growing pigs with good muscling. As with Durocs, it is important to select gilts that carry more fat and have softer underlines as they can be too lean and will have difficulty producing enough milk to wean litters later.
Pure bred Hampshire pigs are renowned for producing a high quality, lean carcass with exceptional muscling and a very large eye muscle.
They are currently the rarest pig in Australia, and the problem faced by breeders is the very limited bloodlines. Although there are a few breeders working to conserve what lines are left, they are very few and far between and genuine pure bred Hampshire are exceedingly hard to find.
We have been using Hampshire semen to artificially inseminate sows for some time and found the piglets to be very robust, hardy and fast growing from a very early age. We also keep pure stud Hampshires from several different lines. The boars are very good terminal sires over any breed and produce solid, fast growing and lean offspring with exceptional eye muscle area.
3 week old Hampshire piglets
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