The Hampshire pig breed information, feeding, caring, and safety practices

Hampshire pig is a heavily muscled, lean meat breed. In the United States, the breed is one of the fourth most recorded breeds of the pigs. Also known as the hogs with “the white belt”.

The Hampshire is used for meat production that yields a lean, low fat and well-muscled carcass. A well-muscled and rapid growth breed that is originated from England.

The American breeders developed over the years the Wessex saddleback pig which was imported from Hampshire county, England to the present Hampshire pig. This has improved the carcass quality and quantity of meat.

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What are the characteristics of a Hampshire pig?

Hampshire hogs are having a white stripe on a black body, with erect ears. The white stripe covers the front legs and also shoulders.

Hamshire pig is known for lean meat. Good carcass, minimal amounts of backfat and large loin eyes.

Hamshire boars are quite aggressive and females are great mothers, with longevity in the sow herd.

The adult Boars weigh 300 kg (660 lbs) and sows weigh 250 kg (550 lbs).

Hampshire Sows have long breeding lives.

A very good forager and efficient feeder.

A beginner-friendly pig, that is easy to care.

Hamshire is well adjusted for confinement and excellent piglet raisers.

Hampshire pig is also known as “The Mark of a Meat Hog” because of its unique white saddle patch on its back.

Hampshire is butchered at 125 pounds, would reach the weight much earlier than other breeds. Known for fast-growing.

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In order to achieve lean meat most of the pigs are crossbred with Hampshire.

The lifespan of the Hampshire pig is 12 years.

Feeding and caring the Hampshire pig

Hampshire pig is well adjusted to confinement, many commercial breeders follow this. Even with confinement, the Hampshire does require enough space for piglets too. A mix of grains and supplements will suffice in confinement.

The best way to raise Hamshire pig is by free-ranging. They are the best foragers. Love to run around the farm, dig and forage for food. Here if you feed grains and some freshwater, the Hampshires will be happiest. At least 14 gallons(50 liters) of water is required per pig.

As the pigs are prey animals they will retain the wild natural traits. Even they are intelligent, always sensitive to danger. This characteristic makes them lookout for predators but needs to provide good fencing around them.

An electrical movable(Portable) fencing is practical for Hamshires. The fencing should cover the pasture area and pen area too. Always moving once in 15 days is good, to keep your pig and piglets healthy.

Safety practices for Hamshire breeders

  • Like any other pigs, the Hampshire do behave in the same way. If Hampshire pigs break their fence, they will eventually go after the farm produce, if it’s your farm or some else farm it’s going to destroy everything. So we always recommend an electrical fence with the low bottom. If the Hampshire piglets escape, this won’t be such a problem, but the adult pigs should stay inside the fence. So keep your fence intact, check them once a day if all the poles are straight and sturdy.
  • If your farm is children friendly, always keep a sign that you have pigs around. It will save an unexpected disaster. The Hamshire piglets and young ones are friendly, but the adult ones are unpredictable, they can get aggressive at times. So always good to keep people aware of them.
  • Do not feed processed food for your pigs, kitchen scraps are good but only if its not processed food.
  • Also, pig’s squeal can range from 110 to 115 decibels, which is equivalent to a jet engine. Keep the pigs only if your neighbors are quite far from your homestead. This will create a lot of problems.
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photo: Avery Crosby

Hampshire pig history and origin

The Hampshire is the oldest breed of pig that is developed by the American breeders. The breed is originated in southern Scotland and Northern England. Pigs were called the “Old English Breed”. One of the earliest American pig breeds.

During 1825 and 1835 the Hampshire pigs were imported from Hamshire County in England to America. The first importation hogs were called as the McKay hog. Because the man named McKay has imported Hamshire from England to America.

The hogs went to Kentucky, where most of the development on the breed happened. They called them “Thin Rinds” because of their thinner skin than other breeds. The saddled hogs were so famous for their prolificacy and hardiness, the Butchers from Ohio traveled to Kentucky to purchase at best prices.

This led to the mass breeding of Hamshire, and everyone loved the meat. The Kentucky farmers wanted to preserve and develop the pureblood so they formed the American Thin Rind Association in 1893.

As the breed had several names like McKay hog, Thin Rinds, Saddleback, Ring Middle and McGee hog. The name was changed to the American Hampshire Record Association in 1904.

The Hampshires were majorly raised in the Corn Belt during 1910 and 1920. The breed started to be more famous only after 1930.

The association took several names later as the Kentucky organization was discontinued in 1907. The Hampshire Swine Record Association in 1922, the Hampshire Swine Registry in 1939.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Hampshire pig used for?

The Hampshire pig used for meat. The Hampshire pig breed is famous for its breeding capabilities. The sows of Hampshire are known for their excellent mothering capabilities. Also, they can give birth for many years ( extra longevity in the sow herd).

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Are Hampshire pigs good for meat?

The Hampshire pigs are primarily used for meat purposes. Due to their rapid growth and well-built characteristic the Hampshire are preferred meat pigs. They have a very good meaty body that is suitable for commercial meat production. Their lean quality meat is good for many meat lovers.

Are Hampshire pigs good mothers?

The sows have very good mothering capabilities. They are great mothers. They live pretty long and produce many piglets. Hampshire pigs are prolific breeding and excellent maternal instincts make them one of the best pigs for confined breeding.

How much is a Hampshire pig?

Hampshire pigs cost range from $300 to $600 depending on the age, breeder, and bloodline. Always buy from a trusted breeder. It’s always good to purchase a pregnant pig(sow). Save on not buying Boar, they are hard to maintain if you are new to pig farming.

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