I've written this page for those who are considering buying from us, but hopefully it might be useful for all first time pig keepers!
We currently have four adult Mangalista breeding sows of different colours (Molly, Kate, Megan and Bree) and a blonde boar (Marmalade or Quickbourne Leader 6 to give him his full name). We also have a cracking young red boar called Jamie who will be entering the herd in 2020. We breed litters of piglets several times a year; I have a waiting list, such is the rarity of the breed. Do drop me a line if you would like to go on the list- it is common for people to change their minds after waiting for a while, so it might just be that we have unexpected availability!
We can offer information on where to get your Mangalitsa slaughtered and processed into high quality charcuterie and meat products through our tried and tested industry contacts. If you'd like to try some charcuterie or bacon when you visit then just let me know and it can be arranged.
People generally buy Mangalitsa for one of two reasons- to grow on for their exceptional marbled meat or to keep as pets. Sometimes it starts as being the first reason and ends up being the second! If you are hoping to bring Mangalitsa on for charcuterie purposes they need to be kept to at least twelve months of age and usually longer. This means that male pigs should be castrated in order to avoid the risk of 'boar taint', though the very existence of such a thing merits an article all of its own. I arrange for this to be done by our vets for all our male piglets, as it ideally needs to be carried out before four weeks of age. If you wish to keep a male pig as a pet it is simply a good policy to castrate them- they are a long lived breed and fifteen years is not uncommon as a lifespan. It would be unfair to keep an entire boar for that long without some 'wives'. Of course it goes without saying that keeping two entire boars together as pets is not recommended. If you are just running on a native breed weaner such as a Tamworth or an OSB it really makes little difference whether you castrate them or not, as they will be sent off to 'sausage camp' at nine months or younger, before any boar taint becomes evident.
At Farrantshayes we generally wean our young pigs from their mother at between seven and eight weeks of age. I will usually notify the people on our waiting list a week or two after a litter is born. You're welcome to come and see them while they are still small- just let me know a good time. They are born stripey (a little like wild boar) but don't stay that way- the delightful curly coat is in place by six weeks of age.
For those who are first time pig keepers:
You will need to have a CPH number and a pig herd number in order to keep pigs. Advice on obtaining these can be found on the link below.
I (or any breeder you purchase from) will need the following information prior to collection date:
Your CPH number
Your pig herd number
Your address and postcode
Your car registration
The journey time from Farrantshayes (EX15 2NQ) to your home
Your intended time of arrival
All these details are required in order to complete the online movement form which is done through a system called eaml2.
You will need to be registered with this online system, which is very easy to do. Please make sure that you register with eaml2 well in advance of collection as I cannot let you take your pigs without the correct paperwork- the fine for moving them without this used to be £5,000 but is now unlimited! I will 'set up' the movement using the details you give me in advance of collection day. Therefore it is important that you are certain you can collect on the date and at the time you state. Please be punctual or let me know if you're going to be late.
If you cannot collect your young pigs when they are aged between seven and eight weeks, this does have a knock on effect on the logistics of the farm and the buildings we use. Therefore we do ask for a £2 a day fee per pig per day for every day they stay with us over eight weeks of age. Keeping them until they're bigger also means they are that much stronger and more difficult to load. Therefore we do advise that you collect within this 7-8 week time frame.
In terms of transport, you can contain your pigs in one of two ways. We generally sell our piglets in pairs; pigs should never be kept alone and unless you have other weaners of the same age it's likely you'll be taking a pair or more. At this age a pair can be easily transported in a large dog crate (lined with straw or suchlike) in the back of a car. A conventional small livestock trailer is also fine. Anything bigger is overkill. We will be ready and waiting for you at the arranged time. Please don't be alarmed at the noise your weaners will doubtlessly make when we pick them up and load them into your chosen container- it's very normal!
Your piglet will either already have been wormed or I will provide you with the correct amount of wormer to sprinkle on their feed when they get home. Feed-wise, they will be weaned onto 'sow nuts' which can easily be obtained from Mole Valley. Go easy with the quantities- Mangas get hugely fat very easily! Follow the guidelines of 1lb of feed per day per month of life up to a maximum of 4lb a day. If your pigs are on fresh pasture then cut this down a little. Mangas love fruit and veg- windfall apples are a favourite and a fodder beet (not to be confused with shredded sugar beet) will provide them with minutes of fun! Ours even enjoy leftover horse and cow hay to snuffle around in.
Before you embark on your journey I will give you the printed off eaml2 paperwork to sign and keep with you on your journey. When you get home, log onto eaml2 and the movement will be waiting for you to confirm. Simply click on 'confirm the move' and you're done. Any problems, ring the helpline- they're very efficient and friendly.
As of this Summer (2019) we will, very occasionally, have pedigree breeding stock for sale. All of our litters are birth notified with the BPA but from those born only a few will be of a high enough quality to go on to become breeding stock. Did you know that in the whole of the UK there were only four new pedigree sows registered with the BPA in 2018? Our current price for meat or pet weaners is £80- this incudes castration of male pigs but for breeding stock prices start at £110. Indiscriminate breeding of Mangalitsa ( or any native rare breed) is to be avoided at all costs- because there are so few left in the UK the risks of inbreeding are considerable; many's the evening I have spent poring over pedigrees working out who can be mated with whom and I will sell on breeding stock if they are too closely related to our existing herd. Beware those would sell on unregistered breeding pigs; it may be that you accidentally end up with an inbred litter simply through not knowing the parentage!
We are always here for advice and we genuinely care about the ongoing welfare of our pigs. If you ever need to rehome your Mangalitsa then let me know- I may be able to help. They're a wonderful breed and will no doubt be a source of endless attention from visitors to your holding or farm!
Why buy pedigree?
Here at Farrantshayes we only sell BPA (British Pig Association) 'birth notified' stock. Beware of those who would sell you non pedigree stock knowing that you plan to breed- it really does not help the breed as a whole when unscrupulous people do this. Sadly there are many out there who are more than willing to charge pedigree prices for non pedigree pigs, some of whom may not even be pure Mangalitsa at all but a crossbreed of some sort. 'PUREBRED' as a label is NOT THE SAME AS 'PEDIGREE'! The word 'purebred' is utterly meaningless unless backed up with BPA pedigree papers which definitively tell you the breeding of the animal.
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