Thanks to a post over on SufficientSelf, I now have another livestock breed to drool over: Mangalitsa pigs. This breed, native to Central Europe, looks like a pig wearing a sheep suit!
They are woolly because they are more closely related to wild boars than they are to modern “improved” breeds. The hair protects them from sunburn and helps to cool them, which is important since pigs can’t sweat. This makes them ideally suited to traditional outdoor raising, where production breeds really do need to be in climate controlled environments.
They are also not classed as “meat-type” pigs like most modern market pigs, but rather “lard-type.” They don’t gain muscle weight like market pigs, and therefore take a lot longer to reach slaughter weight: up to 2 years for perfect fat marbling compared to 5 months for production meat-type pigs, like the Berkshire. This makes them perfect for curing or making sausages. The downside is that farmers have to invest a lot more into each pig and there is a lot more time in which something could go wrong.
But I don’t care about the problems that could arise, I want a whole herd of curly little piggies!
Wooly Pigs: American company selling Mangalitsas