Student research leads to Gloucester Old Spots pig breeding program

Nursing sow with piglets

Nursing sow with piglets – photo by April Nugent

As many of you may know,  one of our recent graduates created a Gloucester Old Spots pig breeding program here at Hampshire College.  For her Division III project, April Nugent conducted research on the nutritional and environmental impacts of raising breeding swine on pasture vs. woodlots. We thought you might be interested learning the results of her research, which can be found here: https://drive.google.com/a/hampshire.edu/file/d/17IroMLsXDNhOOgseBbinM8MvGcmDdPRK/view?usp=sharing

This breed of pig, originally from England and known for its domesticity and intelligence, is on the Livestock Conservancy’s “threatened” list, meaning that as of 2018 there were fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States and there was an estimated global population of less than 5,000. This breed, which has excellent maternal skills and thrives on pasture, was once very popular, but fell into decline with the advent of intensive, indoor pig production after World War II. Characterized by its distinctive white coat with black spots and its calm temperament, the breed nearly fell into extinction in the 1960s, but has been recovering slowly since then.

For more information on our ongoing program, follow us on our Gloucester Old Spots Facebook page.

Reeve Gutsell is the Food, Farm, and Sustainability Program Coordinator at Hampshire College. She has a Master's degree in Resource Management and Conservation, as well as a long-term interest in the intersection of agriculture, environmental issues, social justice, and food systems. She enjoys the walking around the farm in all types of weather, and almost always finds something beautiful or interesting to explore.

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