The Oxford Sandy and Black
The Oxford Sandy and Black is one of the oldest and rarest breeds of Pig in the UK. It is one of the closest relatives to the now extinct breed called the ‘OLD ENGLISH PIG’. Unlike modern breeds, Oxford Sandy and Blacks have a good layer of fat and a good coat of hair that can withstand all seasons on an outdoor free range farm. Their natural habitat was forest and woodland, this instinct has not been bred out of them, they remain slow to mature and thrive in a free range environment. On our farm they have the opportunity to LIVE LIFE & RUN FREE through the pasture and woodland. Their diet is as natural as we can make it, supplemented with English Apples and Acorns from our own Orchard and Woodland. Unlike modern factory farming methods we DO NOT dock their tails, clip their teeth, castrate the males or routinely administer antibiotics. Each and every Pig lives their life as naturally as we can make it. Our Pigs are 100% FREE RANGE, do not confuse this with the very misleading term ‘outdoor bred’ which still means the Pigs will spend most of their lives indoors.
In March 2017 we made the decision to reduce the size of our herd. During the winter of 2016/17 we were carrying an ongoing herd of between 70 and 100 pigs, this was our highest stocking level since 2007. We recognised that whilst we were able to carry that stock with ease throughout the Summer, we were unable to give as much fresh pasture as we wanted (and the pigs deserved) through the winter period, and we believe this to be unacceptable for the welfare of the pigs and the happiness of the farmer.
Having looked at buying or renting more land it was an easy decision to make financially to scale back rather than push forward.
Whilst we were very sad to see our numbers decrease we have always said that we will put the welfare of our Pigs first, without compromise. We will see where we go from here later in the year.