Standards of Care, Standards of Excellence…
At Lucky George Farm we are focused on breeding purebred Large Black pigs that meet the British Pig Association’s Standards of Excellence. The standard sets criteria for the body type of pigs that can provide a generous amount of milk to feed young piglets and the finest flavored Old World pork— both on a diet of grass and forage. Large Blacks were originally bred as a pig to be let loose on the Commons in England and then gathered before winter for butchering as soon as it was cold enough to keep meat frozen outdoors. This breed of swine has naturally developed through the centuries to thrive on grass and other forage outdoors without the feed inputs that modern agriculture provides.
By understanding the history of this regal swine breed we are prepared to raise them in a way that is complementary to their innate nature rather than forcing them into a man-made system. Our pigs are allowed to roam our pastures in semi-permanent paddocks with open pig huts eating off of the land and converting that lovely native Iowa grass into succulent pork. It feels like we manage the pastures more than the pigs, giving them the freedom to be themselves. We then select our breeding stock from the most fit animals that gain on low input grazing, are strong and well muscled, with the tenacity to parent their offspring in an attentive manner.
On the farm we aim to produce a large framed animal that is highly fertile, is well-suited to a grass and forage diet living within the realities of an Iowa climate. In the Midwest we can see high temperatures above 100 degrees in the summer and winters where temperatures stay below zero for weeks at a time. You name a moisture level (foggy, rainy, flooded, temperate, dry, drought, blizzard) and we’ve experienced it through our state’s recent weather history. When necessary, we step in and support our herd through the roughest of conditions with supplemental hay from our own fields, spent grains from local breweries, and additional watering beyond their free access to the pond.
Our goal is to breed the best multi-purpose purebred Large Black pig (breeders, porkers, and baconers) as possible and to help re-establish this breed to a position as a premiere breed in the marketplace. We feel strongly that Large Blacks are THE BEST overall pig from pasture to plate.
General Quality and Conformation Standards…
Good carriage on sound feet with length and well developed loin and hams
- Head Well-proportioned Medium length, broad and clean between the ears.
- Jowl & Cheek Freedom from jowl. Strong under-jaw.
- Ears Long, thin and well-inclined over the face.
- Neck Long and clean.
- Chest Wide and deep.
- Shoulders (Important) Fine and in line with ribs.
- Back Very long and strong.
- Ribs Well sprung.
- Loin Broad and strong.
- Sides Long and moderately deep.
- Quarters Long, wide and not drooping.
- Hams Very broad and full.
- Legs Well set, straight and fat. Fine bone.
- Tail Set moderately high and thick-set.
- Skin Blue-Black in color. Fine and soft.
- Coat Fine and soft, with moderate quantity of straight black silky hair.
- Underline Full, straight underline, with at least 12 sound, evenly spaced, well-placed teats and starting well forward.
Disqualifications & Breed Specific Objections…
Breed Specific Disqualification–Any color other than black.
Breeders should avoid these in their breeding programs:
- Ears Thick, coarse, cabbage leafed.
- Coat Coarse, curly or bristly-mane.
- Skin Thick, wrinkled or sooty-black.
- Legs and Feet Crooked. Low pasterns and excessively bent hocks.
- Neck Coarse Collar.
- Head Excessive jowl, narrow forehead.
- Shoulder Heavy and coarse shield.
- Condition Excessive fat is to be discouraged.