“Jenny” “Pumba” “Pumba and Jenny” “Mr. Piggins”
The Meishan (May-shan) is an ancient Chinese breed that originated from the Mid Subtropic Belt in the Lower Changjiang River Basin. (I like to call them the ‘Sharpei-Basset Hound Pig’ because of the their long ears and wrinkly faces) They are the most prolific pig breed in the world. There are not many of them in the United States. Through a cooperative effort, 144 of these pigs were imported from China into the U.S. in 1989. They were divided between Iowa State University, University of Illinois and the USDA in an effort to understand why they were so prolific. The sows can have up to 25 piglets, although 14-18 is average. Once the program ended 10 years later some of these animals were dispersed to zoos and a few farms. The others were lost somewhere along the way. All of the Meishans in the United States today, originated from these animals. Amazingly, a few are still thriving on a handful of farms. The breed is mostly used to enhance herds and not geared towards breed preservation. If the breed is not preserved, the pure bred stock will eventually die out in the U.S.
Although Meishan pork is a delicacy in Japan and served in many top restaurants, they have other purposes here in the US. Their genetics are important for one. They could offer farmers a chance to enhance their own herd by introducing them to their stock. They can help increase the number of piglets per litter when crossed with other breeds. The Meishan is a lard pig and when crossed with a leaner hog, like the Tamworth or Red Wattle, it can help increase the fat content of those animals. They are also great foragers.
Their temperaments are amazing. Laid back, easy going and lazy, they don’t get too excited about many things (except bananas, that’ll get them going every time).
Jenny farrowed April 29, 2016! She had 9 adorable piglets. If you are interested in adding one to your farm, contact us. We have a few boars and one gilt available. They are ready for their new farms as of June 24th
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