Meishan pigs are an incredibly unique pig that up to now has not been fully utilized to its potential in the United States. The Meishan defies all classical descriptions of typical swine behavior. They are a true grazing hog. None of our Meishans are destructive to our pastures. They have the lowest environmental impact of any hog breed on pastures. Meishans do not test fences. Meishans do not harass or attack other livestock. Meishans can survive and thrive on a diet much higher in roughage. Adult Meishans do not squeal or scream.They are an incredibly sedentary pigs that sleeps most of the day.We often have to wake our adult Meishans up to feed them.While they do not grow as fast as commercial breeds their growth typically outpaces that of popular heritage breeds. We find that on adequate pasture with minimal supplemental feed our bloodlines can reach 250 – 300+ lbs in 8.5 to 10.5 months. Their large litters and superior mothering capabilities also set them apart from other popular heritage breeds. As important is the fact that when other breeds of hogs are crossed with Meishan hogs the offspring have shown (in study after study ) a tendency to demonstrate heterosis or hybrid vigor.That is the characteristics of the resultant offspring are superior to either of its parents.
Growth Rates, Heterosis and Inbreeding depression:
We believe that heteroisis or hybrid vigor is involved in the excellent growth rates (as compared to other Lard carcass heritage breeds) that we and our customers are enjoying . While heterosis generally refers to crossing different breeds the three Meishan bloodlines were documented by the Blackburn study to be genetically differentiated from each other. Conversely we also believe that inbreeding depression has negatively impacted some of the breeding stock that traces to the dispersal of the third research facility on or around 2008-2010 . Even worse their are idications that crossed and “graded up” examples of the breed are being misrepresented as pure Meishan. Inbreeding depression can express itself in reduced size , reduced litter sizes , poor structure and poor health and vitality. Only by generationally re-breeding these pigs and their offspring to differentiated bloodlines can their unique genetic profiles be retained in a healthy breeder pool.We believe that should and can be done.All pure Meishans have a role to play in the preservation of the breed.The genetic health of any animal,herd or even breed is both a factor of genetic purity and genetic diversity. Studies have estimated over 2000 years of genetic separation between Meishans and European breeds. That separation can only be maintained if genetic contamination by domestic breeds or “graded up” examples of Meishan pigs are identified before they contaminate the true pure examples of the breed. Step one in evaluating your breeding stock should be knowing the purity and genealogy of your breeding candidates. Unfortunately during our research on the breed we noticed a disturbing trend among some “breeders” claiming to have “pure Meishans” who actually now very little about their parentage or levels of relativity of their herd or its offspring. Some never actually show pictures of their breeding stock.Nor do they discuss size, structure or growth rates of their bloodlines. Very often all photographs of “their stock” were actually pulled from the internet (from zoo and research herd websites).In some cases these “breeders” are merely brokering entire litters of piglets from undocumented backgrounds or exotic animal auctions. We feel that an evaluation of the source breeding stock, a knowledge of the lineage and bloodlines of that stock and an unquestioned confidence in purity and genetic health is the right of any purchaser of Meishan pigs. For this reason we are deeply involved in the efforts of the American Meishan Breeders Association . The A.M.B.A. is developing the first on-line pedigree database for the breed and is working closely with the Livestock Conservancy to assess the worldwide population of verifiably pure Meishans.
We hope you will join us in this effort to preserve this unique and special breed of hog.
The hyper productivity of the hog and its documented superior mothering abilities means that farmers can maintain smaller less expensive breeding herds to get the same number of piglets to use or sell. A Meishan won the prestigious hog “nose to tail” COCHON 555 Denver 2016 chef competition .
Whether an efficient lard hog for the sustainable small holder homestead or as a component in a small to medium size craft pork operation the Meishan may be a superior choice for your farm. Breeders wanting a docile hog for home use no longer have to settle for smaller breeds(with smaller cuts of meat) like AGH or Kune Kune . The do not have to tolerate eighteen month to two year grow outs until butcher weights are achieved. No longer must breeding sows be fed and maintained for four to seven piglets litter sizes.And finally pastures can be preserved and shared due the temperament and low environmental impact of the Meishan breed. The Meishan is simply a more prolific ,faster growing, more docile and less destructive pig. And all in a 300-350lb package.
Other breeders wanting to take their meat operations to a truly profitable level can now add to their litter sizes,teat numbers,marbling ,flavor ,fat quality and in some cases improve growth rates by incorporating Meishans in their breeder herds.
Find out why we say
Meishans...Perfection 5000 years in the making