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Wessex piglets at Glen Eyrie

photo courtesy Jayce Morgan

Wessex Saddleback

Australia’s herd of Wessex Saddlebacks has international significance because the pigs here were imported before the amalgamation or the Essex and Wessex Herdbooks to become the one British Saddleback. Some preliminary DNA typing is supporting this anecdotal evidence.

The Saddle back was developed as a forager often living and grazing in the New Forrest, like the large black they have similar although much shorter lop ears which shields their eyes and allows them to forage in all weather.

Saddle backs although they are good maternal pigs can be very aggressive and caution should be observed when mixing sows. They have an abundant milk supply and good fecundity .

Saddle backs being traditionally prized for their fat tend to be hard to finish to heavier weights with acceptable fat scores. They can also have pigmentation an the carcass which may still show the stripe and sometimes have seedy belly which is pigmentation in the glands in the belly, ,these factors can produce challenges to carcass production , this aside they make wonderful eating and are listed on The Ark of Taste. Like any of the old maternal breeds the use of a terminal sire can make for some top quality eating pigs by enhancing the carcass yield and reducing the P2 back fat. Purebred saddle back pork is suited to niche markets.