Glen Eyrie Rare Breeds Farm and Green Isle Pure Bred Pig Stud
Duroc Piglets at Glen Eyrie
Photo Courtesy of Jayce Morgan
The modern Duroc originated from crosses of two red breeds from the United States, the Jersey Red and the Duroc from New York, producing a much more compact animal that the rangy and very large Jersey Red.
The Duroc was first imported to Australia in 1922 but had a short lived popularity and became extinct here in the 1940's. Durocs were re-introduced from new bloodlines from New Zealand and Canada.
The Duroc is a very large pig with small broken ears. They are reddish in colour, varying from brassy gold to a deep mahogany. Black is discouraged. Unfortunately Durocs seem to be endowed with much coarser bristles than other breeds and this makes the carcass hard to clean.
Durocs are widely used as terminal sires in Hybrid breeding programs, the sows must be heavily selected to be feminine and soft in the underline otherwise they tend to be too lean and will not milk as well. Durocs hang up really well and have the ability to develop marbling if not grown too fast. As Americans skin their pigs the heavy bristle and sometimes “5 oclock Shadow” that can be seen on the carcass is not so much of a problem for processors as here. It is worth selecting lighter colored and finer coated durocs if you can as the rough heavy coated ones tend to throw more hair .
Purebred Durocs are also becoming diminished in numbers and breeders as new entries to the market tend to prefer other breeds for their maternal abilities but will often use a terminal Duroc sire. It is important to protect the sow lines so these terminal sires can be produced.
We produce several hundred purebred durocs each year and many of the females are grown for 130kg dressed smallgoods pigs where there exceptional carcass yeilds are highly appreciated. Durocs have much more intramuscular fat than partitioned fat. Males are sold all over Australia as terminal sires and the Tamworth Duroc cross is an exceptional carcass pig.
Duroc sows are very protective mothers and after much experience with them I believe are more suited to commercial indoor production ,this is related to their large litter sizes of often smaller pigs and their shorter lactations than the fatter breeds. Definitely a breed for the more experienced pig farmer.