We thought we’d share with you a little about what we believe in because the high welfare of all our animals and the way we do things is so important to us.
Our ‘Big Four’ commitments to our animals are:
- They have room to run, not just walk around, and they can often be seen playing and ‘galloping’ from one end of the paddock to the other.
- We do not cut their teeth or tails – because of their ‘no stress lifestyle’ they don’t need these restrictions.
- No nose rings either – they are free to turn over the grass to look for bugs and worms even though it means the pen needs resting after a group have been reared in it.
- Finally, they are treated with respect but not pampered or spoilt – they have basic needs and we have the farming resources to make sure these are met.
Free to roam…
Our Berkshire pigs have space and large paddocks where they love to roam – free to root, wallow and forage to their heart’s content. Large straw-bedded, dry pig huts keep them safe and sound from the elements and this life free of stress really enhances the quality of their meat.
It is common knowledge amongst experienced pig farmers that disease is a lot less rife in pigs who are bred and reared outdoors. Our pigs enjoy the healthiest and happiest life we can give them in the time they are with us.
We keep our Berkshires (and the occasional rare breed cross like British Lop) in family groups while they grow and they get very used to us and our family as we feed them and look after their welfare. We personally take them to the abattoir too and manage that whole process and ensure they do not experience transport in big lorries jam-packed with other animals on a long and distressing journey. Without romanticising the fact we are growing pigs for food, we truly care how they make that final journey and we believe our respect for them during handling keeps them relaxed, which has a direct benefit to the meat they give us.
Our gate is always open for customers to pop in and see us or come and stroke the pigs and we believe in a ‘farmer to plate’ ethos as far as we can – even making our own deliveries whenever possible.
Luke has great skills with animal nutrition, after years of rearing excellent quality calves raised with a ‘no expense spared’ ethos (even at times when market prices were low). We never compromise on the welfare of our animals, even if this impacts on our own margins.
The skill with any animal, and especially Berkshire pigs, is to create a nutritional balance to grow them to a good weight without them becoming overweight – a balance many rare breed farmers struggle to achieve.