The history of ye olde humble pig...

With Darren Wolski

 

The pig we know and love today actually originated from the wild pigs of old Europe/Asia…and we are talking B.C!

They were introduced to Australia with the First Fleet in 1788, where 49 pigs were brought over as a food source. Once they arrived, they were farmed and bred, increasing in numbers primarily around Sydney. Over the years many escaped from their holdings, travelling far and breeding profusely to form the feral pig population of today, with reported numbers of up to 50,000 Australia wide.

The humble old pig has evolved through genetics and breeding to form a large industry of its own. Domestic pigs came into prominence as a sideline industry for approx. 50,000 dairy and grain farmers in the 1960’s, when the farmers found that pigs grew well on skim milk. With the de-regulation of the dairy industry into the 1970’s, producers dropped down to 30,000 and after further industry changes over the years, there may only be approx. 1900 producers Australia wide today. The pig producers of today are mainly large-scale operators, however there are still many smaller and backyard operators also farming pigs.

A female pig (a sow) has a gestation period of 114 days and can give birth to many piglets. If they raise around 9-10 piglets, they are doing well! A piglet can be weaned off its mother from 4/5weeks old and grown on specific food for their age. They initially eat approx. 800g/day, increasing as they get older to 2kg/day. Pigs can be sold as weaners for other farmers to grow, or sold directly to butchers (depending on the market) from approx. 16 weeks of age. 

So there are just a few insights into the humble pig, feel free to contact myself or one of our merchandise team on (07) 4660 0400 or email me at; raz@dalbyruralsupplies.com.au for more information about pigs. As Porky Pig says 'That's all folks!'.