Elsie my Oxford Sandy and Black sow has just given birth to a really nice litter of piglets. Sired by the Oxford Sandy and Black boar, Clarence, these are pedigree piglets.
Yesterday we caught them all and ear notched the ones which I feel may become individually registered pigs in the future. These Oxford Sandy and Black piglets being out of pedigree stock have initially to be birth notified with the BPA as an entire litter. Only then can individual pigs be registered, at an additional cost, via the BPA.
What does an Oxford Sandy and Black piglet need to get a notch in its ear?
The first inspection I do is to check the piglets underline, that is their teats. There must be a minimum of 12 and be evenly spaced, to enable sufficient suckling space for future piglets. Boars and gilts must have good underlines, as the boar will pass on this quality to his progeny.
Secondly the piglet must fulfil the breed specifications for the Oxford Sandy and Black breed, which can be found on the club website.
Thirdly the piglets must not have any obvious faults cosmetic, aesthetic or hereditary.
This is only the first inspection of many. As the piglets grow they change and faults appear, such as poor legs or turned out feet. When such faults are apparent even these pedigree pigs are allocated to be slaughtered for delicious Oxford and Black pork. We have to “Eat them to keep them”!
It is impossible, therefore, in my experience, to individually register every pig from every litter of pedigree pigs.
We are only guardians for a moment of time of these precious rare breed British pigs. Therefore it is our duty as breeders to only select the best to preserve and improve these rare breed pigs for future generations to come.