Gloucester Old Spots
In 2010, we added Gloucester Old Spots to our farm operation.
After working with Herefords for about five years, we were looking for a breed that was calmer and less excitable. The Old Spot seemed to fit the bill.
Since then, there was no looking back. Once you get accustomed to the Old Spot's sweet personality, easy temperament, and great mothering, it would be hard to consider any other breed.
The Gloucestershire Old Spots is a white pig with large black spotting, heavy drooping ears, and a scooped out face. Old Spot's are clearly lard pigs and do have a fatty carcass. They are susceptible to sunburn and must have shade and a wallow during the summer heat and sun.
Gloucestershire Old Spots originated in the Berkeley Valley region of England and from there, spread throughout the UK and the remainder of the world.
The origin of the breed is unknown but is probably from the native stock of the area along with introductions of other various breeds along the way.
The Old Spot is a medium-sized pig, and was once called the Orchard Pig or Cottage Pig. They were commonly raised on small family farms on waste agricultural products of the area such as windfall orchard fruit and whey. They do very well on pasture and are great for small scale farm production like ours.
Old wives-tales suggest that their black spotting was the result of fruit falling and bruising them as they roamed the fruit orchards they commonly foraged in.
Gloucestershire Old Spots are said to be good foragers, which is not surprising considering the type of feeding practiced in the original home of the breed during its early development.
GOS sows of the breed are known for large litters and high milk production. They have an easy-going attitude and are not aggressive.
For our meat production, we added unregistered Tamworth hogs. This allows us to produce terminal GOS/tamworth crosses for meat production and adds a bit of hybrid vigor to our terminal piglets.
As a result, we do keep some Tamworth sows and boars for our own use and do often have unregistered Tamworth stock for sale as well if interested.