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I've had a love affair with Large Black Pigs over the last few years. I'm not a full time swineherd, but we buy our pigs in as weaners every year and fatten them up. Once common, they are a Rare Breed now, but excellent for beginners like us as they're very phlegmatic and easy to keep. We let ours wander around the orchard with the odd length of one strand electric fence coralling them in (in sharp contrast with the entertaining but hooligan Tamworths my friend Spon keeps down the road). I am also appalled at the conditions in which pigs are often kept commercially and our Large Blacks make fantastic eating, so we no longer buy sausages, pork, pancetta or ham.
Large Black Pig, Winter 2008/9
They fulfill a useful function for the meadow too, by opening up the sward with their rooting. The breed is not known for being particularly aggressive at excavating, but they do the business. I've just sorted out delivery of our next three weaners in October, which is perfect. I have dragged around the green hay from an existing patch of meadow to where the pigs will be, hoping that the seeds from it will do well on the bare earth they will leave. We should have a new annual rich meadow area as a result - albeit one that will need some rolling!