As promised in the previous post, we wanted to provide you with more details on the Gloucester Old Spot breeding program, a student-run project by April Nugent, 15F, funded by the Coppinger Research Grant. This study involves breeding heritage pigs in two separate environments (pasture and woodlot) and then comparing the pigs raised on pasture with the pigs raised on woodlot, with the goal of providing baseline data for heritage pig breeders. Additionally, the impact of the pigs on the environment will be assessed.
The pigs (including the piglets) are weighed every week and are fed a combination of cracked corn and pig feed, plus whatever they forage. Baseline soil samples have been taken, and will be taken again at the end of the project to assess the impacts of the pigs on soil fertility.
The first litter of piglets was born on July 31, with two more litters on the way any day now. Here are Mabel (above) and Phyllis (below), two of the pregnant sows on the farm:
Here is Lady Roxanne, with her five piglets:
Here are Lady Roxanne (same as above) and Lady Jane, who are full sisters (and half-sisters to Mabel):
Duke, the boar, is about a year old, and is the father of all the litters other than Phyllis’s:
We will keep you updated as this research project progresses. In the meantime, we are keeping a sharp eye on Phyllis, whom we expect to go into labor at any time. Stay tuned! Also, check two Facebook pages for videos and more photos: a) Hampshire College Farm and CSA and b) Hampshire College Gloucester Old Spots.