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Having spent the Christmas holidays with my family in Scotland, I'd like to share some of the rare breeds inhabiting their woodland smallholding on the Highland Boundary Fault. I'm starting with their four pigs, the loveable and resilient Oxford Sandy and Blacks, who in their 300 years as the favourite backyard pig have fought off several attempts to bring them to the brink of extinction!

Après avoir passé les fêtes de Noël avec ma famille en Ecosse, je voudrais partager avec vous quelques-unes des espèces rares qui peuplent leur parcelle de forêt en la faille des Highlands. Je commence avec ses quatre cochons, adorables et durables 'Oxfords noirs et sablonneux', qui, dans ses 300 ans, comme cochon de jardin préféré a résisté à plusieurs tentatives pour parvenir à l'extinction!

Después de haber pasado las vacaciones de Navidad con mi familia en Escocia, me gustaría compartir con ustedes algunas de las especies raras que habitan en sus parcela de bosque en la Falla de Fronteras Highland. Estoy empezando con sus cuatro cerdos, el adorable y resistente Oxford arena y negros, que en sus 300 años como el cerdo preferido del patio trasero ha resistido varios intentos de llevar a cerca de la extinción!
<p>heritage breeds are the backbone of homesteading AND industrial agriculture; but the companies involved in industrial agriculture mostly ignore the heritage breeds when not actively trying to adjust the physical traits of their current stock through breeding. That means that it is up to the modern homesteader to utilize heritage breeds, or nobody will and they will go the way of the dodo. I look forward to getting my homestead set up and being able to raise some of my own food; chickens, pheasant and maybe pigs too....</p>
<p>Hi there and thanks for your insightful comment. Heritage breeds will not survive in an industrial agriculture environment, this is why biotech companies are forever creating these hybrid breeds and now GMO animals. Heritage breeds grow slowly, have very independent personalities, are totally foraging creatures and with strong bonds to the homesteader. Most homesteads have their animals and birds as part of the family, even though, paradoxically, they may eventually end up eating them. Big Ag wants quick growing, (e.g. 41 days from chick to finished meat bird) animals and birds that will survive in battery systems (CAFOs), they are also not worried in the least about quality, neither quality of life nor quality of food product, they work on volume. Those industrial hybrid birds I mentioned weigh 4 kilos! The operators certainly have no bond with the livestock, many being computer-run, with minimum human presence, in fact the next generation huge batteries with hundreds of thousands of confined animals are set to run purely by computer. </p><p>So yes these heritage breeds are for the homesteader and you are right, every homesteader is part of the movement to restore these ancient and wonderful creatures to their former glory prior to the two World Wars, which ushered in intensive farming and the Agro Chem Industry. </p><p>I wish you really good luck with your adventure. We left the 'rat race' 20 years ago to set up here, we have never once regretted it. If you want to see more of our way of life and our birds: <a href="http://holistic-hen.blogspot.com"> http://holistic-hen.blogspot.com </a> and I also have a youtube channel - Pavlovafowl.</p><p>All the very best from Normandie, Sue</p>

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Bio: I am passionate about organic farming and food. We have a small homestead or rather a forest garden with rare breed poultry, fantail pigeons and ... More »
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