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Berkshire Pig Breeders Club


About the Pig

The breed originated in the Thames Valley, possibly around Wantage, circa 1790. It began as a large tawny red pig, spotted with black. The ears were inclined to be pendulous, the body long and thick, with short legs and plenty of bone. By the early 1800s, the breed had become lighter in the head and ears, shorter and more compact with less bone. Lord Barrington was thought to be largely responsible for the improvement, when introducing Chinese or East Asian blood to the breed.

In the middle of this century, the decline in numbers of Berkshires kept resulted in the near extinction of the breed in this country.

With the introduction of new blood from Australia, New Zealand and the USA, the breed has made great progress in recent years, both numerically and in carcass quality.

Although primarily black in colour, the Berkshire carcass dresses out completely white, and has a high proportion of lean meat to fat. The flesh is fine in texture, and has a distinct flavour. The Berkshire is early finishing, which means the ideal carcass is around 36-45kgs (80-100lbs).

As a crossing breed, the Berkshire will suit any programme, whether used as a sire or dam. When mated to a white breed, the resulting progeny will be white, and will inherit the Berkshire's naturally strong constitution to withstand extremes of temperature and the easy level of feeding associated with the breed.

The Berkshire sow is a productive, placid pig, who is a heavy milker and will lose little flesh whilst rearing her litter. Our breed enjoys an ongoing, successful export trade, particularly to the Far East, where Berkshire pork is marketed as a rare delicacy. Try some!

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Finishing Units Excellence Bloodlines
A list of finishing units looking for stock, as in the Summer 2005 edition of The Ark. The Standard of Excellence for the Berkshire Breed A list of bloodlines of the Berkshire Breed
Artificial Insemination 2004/05 Survey
A few words on AI, and contact details for
Robert Overend and Namatjira 6th
in Northern Ireland.
The most recent Berkshire Pig census carried out by Jo Wykes-Sneyd with results for the year ending March 2005.

This page updated 25/09/2006 01:00