Indigenous pigs

The origin of pigs in Southern Africa is uncertain. Although archaeologists found that cattle, sheep, goats, chickens and dogs were brought into Southern Africa by early migrants, archaeological evidence of pigs is not so certain. The ancient Egyptians depicted a small breed of pig with a bristly mane in their paintings and carvings, and it is thought that these pigs are the forefathers of the famous Spanish pig. In South Africa we have two distinct pigs that are now regarded as indigenous,¬† Kolbroek and Windsnyer. Over the last few years at Wickedfood Earth we have been running research into which pig species is best suited to a free-range environment. More ….

Kolbroek pigs

Also often referred to in the old days as a Lard Pig by virtue of its huge accumulation of fat. They are shorter than the average factory-farmed pig with pricked ears and a squashed face. The breed is dark coloured being either black or brown and are often striped at birth.

This breed resembles a breed of pig common in China. There is evidence that a sailing ship, belonging to the Dutch East India Company was wrecked off the coast at Cape Hangklip in 1778 and that the pigs on board fell into the hands of farmers who had settled in the area. The name of this ship was the Colebrook.

The Kolbroek is extremely hardy and in the past survived, often by scavenging outside farmsteads. This made it ideal for rural areas where intensive farming was not as viable.

Windsnyer

Although it is maintained that all pig breeds were introduced by Europeans, it is thought  that the Windsnyer  closely resembles the description of the ancient Egyptian breed which has bristles forming a distinct mane. Like many of the indigenous domestic animals they have a large colour variation being either black, reddish-brown, brown, black and white or spotted. Some of the young even have longitudinal stripes which are typical of the young bushpig. The name Windsnyer (wind-cutter) is derived from its shape as it is narrow-bodied and long-nosed.

Like the Kolbroek, this pig is very hardy and scavenges for its food if need be. It can convert food with a low nutrient content very efficiently. It has been shown that the 570kg food needed by one pig of an imported breed to produce a litter of ten piglets, is sufficient for two and a half indigenous sows and a combined litter of 20 piglets. The Windsnyer is also able to survive periods of food shortage. The pig is an excellent mother which results in very few piglet deaths.

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