Some places on the planet are famous not only for outstanding people, but also for animals deserved before mankind. The Iberian black pig gave the world a tender jerky ham - jamon. This ancient breed is not much different from its wild ancestors. The Iberian pig calmly tolerates both keeping in a barn, and monthly walks under the shade of century-old oaks.
Appearance and characteristics of the breed
Almost all the body weight of the Iberian pig is concentrated in an elongated, rounded body. The black or gray hide is covered with short bristles. The powerful torso merges into an oblong head with a snout at the end. The pig's "piglet" consists of strong cartilage, is very mobile, devoid of vegetation and is intended for getting food from the ground. Ears of a trapezoidal shape are attached on both sides to the head almost at its very top and fall below the eyes, partially covering them.
The legs of the Iberian pig breed are long and lean. The extreme 2nd and 4th fingers hardly touch the ground. There are 4 of them. Legs of pigs end with hooves. Hence the name "artiodactyls" comes from. The pig's tail is immeasurably short and coiled. The general appearance is quite athletic, without folds of fat and skin, sagging.
Zarechny Maxim Valerievich
Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.
The black Iberian pig has become a symbol of the Spanish city of Jabugo, famous for producing the best jamon in Spain.
Pros and cons of the Iberian pig
There is no perfection in the world. The cute Iberian pig has its drawbacks:
- very gluttonous;
- prone to obesity;
- requires areas of oak groves with different periods of fruit ripening sufficient for their appetite;
- does not differ in fertility;
- has a semi-wild disposition, determined by the same genetics.
One major plus smooths out and pulls in all the flaws in the character and physiology of a semi-domestic animal. Incomparable marble meat with an original flavor made Iberia famous all over the world.
The second plus is that when acorns and oak groves are not enough, the Iberian pig can be fattened with what God sent, and eaten, having disposed of its skin at the same time. This breed is not aggressive, neither within the herd, nor towards humans.
Specificity of maintenance, care and feeding
The original taste of the Iberian pig meat is inseparable from its living conditions. It was the natural conditions of the Spanish province that first opened to people a way to obtain such a product in the setting of the domestication of previously wild animals. Pigs choose places that are rich in food (seeds, grains, fruits), cool and moist. They often migrate around water bodies. Bathing cools the body of pigs in hot weather, as their skin is devoid of sweat glands.
If the Iberian animal is given free rein, it will eat whatever is offered to it or finds itself. But the manufacturer is not interested in pure lard. In order to get marbled meat, the pig needs to be provided with room for movement. A hectare of forest is needed to walk one individual. 4 oak species with different ripening times for acorns provide food for the Iberian breed from September almost to April. It is at this time that farmers release their pets into the wild.
Wild herbs and roots of vegetation complement the diet of Iberian pigs, making it balanced. Running and digging the ground burns a lot of calories, the mass of future pork increases very slowly. But only this mode of keeping gives the signature taste of meat. In the end, Iberian pigs manage to gain 160-190 kg of weight. Then the care of them goes to the butchers.
Iberian pigs reach sexual maturity at 6 months. Delay can be caused by poor diet or disease. Before arranging mating for pigs, their health is checked, the best individuals of both sexes are selected by systematic observation of each animal literally from birth.
If there are males on the farm who are prepared for procreation, it is not difficult to identify hunting in a female. She will pay special attention to the wild boar, and may even show aggression in relation to pigs and sows. When the male approaches the female, which is in a state of hunting, she stands still, does not run away and does not resist.
If mating has to be done with someone else's boar, the female can also be checked for readiness for it even before meeting with the producer. The pig shows the following signs of heat:
- Swelling or redness of the vagina. Blood discharge is possible from it.
- Unusual grunting.
- When pressing on the back, it stands still.
An average of 5-10 babies are expected from farrowing. When the pregnancy of the pig is established, it is immediately transferred to a reinforced balanced diet. For the period of feeding piglets with milk, the mother's diet should also be high in calories, with a high protein content.
A convenient time for mating pigs is winter. The piglets will be born in 4 months.
Diseases of the breed
The owners are often to blame for the ailments of Iberian pigs, like other animals. Improper feeding or poisoning due to inattention can cause digestive problems.
|Anemia in newborn piglets.||Weakness, diarrhea.||Lack of iron in the diet of a pregnant sow.|
|Gastroenteritis.||Piglet diarrhea, developmental delay.||Malnutrition, unbalanced diet.|
|Dyspepsia in suckling pigs.||Bloating, diarrhea or constipation, lethargy, vomiting.||Improper nutrition of the mother, diseases of the internal organs.|
|Salt poisoning.||Thirst, vomiting, increased salivation, convulsions.||Excessive addition of salt-containing food waste to feed.|
|Mold poisoning.||Severe diarrhea or constipation.||Mold in the stern.|
|Worms.||Slow weight gain or weight loss, poor appetite. Diarrhea, regurgitation, vomiting, attempts to drag the anus along the ground. Jerking and convulsions. Parasites in the feces.||Unsanitary conditions, weakening of animals due to malnutrition.|
Helminths are easy for animals to pick up, but regular cleaning of manure slows down the spread of parasites. It is necessary to periodically give the animals antihelminthic drugs.
Iberian pigs are also susceptible to viral and bacterial infections. Such diseases often accompany parasitized animals, penetrating into wounds inflicted by helminths. The change in the pig's behavior towards lethargy and despondency shows that it is time to call the veterinarian, and the animal is isolated as soon as possible.
The value of meat products
Many types of jamon, the most famous Spanish imported product, are produced from the hams of Iberian pigs. They differ in the way of feeding the animal from the meat of which they are made, in the quality of the individual carcass. The most famous types:
- Iberico de Beyota, for whom the fattening of pigs ends with an acorn-herb diet;
- Iberico Sebo de Campo is made from meat grown on grain and acorns.
Jamon is an Iberian pig jerky with veins of muscle fat. It takes several months to prepare. Cut into transparent slices.