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Old 09/13/12, 08:27 AM
Rob30's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Ontario
Posts: 812
Tamworth vs berkshire

I have a tamworth boar right now that is getting a little too big. I have access to a berkshire boar.
We raise pasture raised pork and we have been satisfied with the meat. They are a little slow growing but otherwise great. However the boar has always been a little off. He is very difficult to move when needed. He is also not very good as a pasture animal. While all the cross bred pigs are out forraging, he is hanging around the pen waiting for grain. I am not happy with this since the tamworth is supposed to be the best pasture pig going. We also have several sows that should have farrowed, but they have not. I think they are bred, but I am not sure.
The current owner of the berkshire is selling him because he found his meat was too fatty. We don't want this. However he constant feeds his pigs. We limit their feed. Which may make a differance.
Anyone have experience with both breeds?
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Old 09/13/12, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 148
Ive never heard anyone say a Tamworth is the best pasure hog out there first and foremost.Also have never heard anyone say they didnt like Berkshire meat because it was too fat.Sure it is a well marbled meat but not overly fat in my opinion.I liked my Berk's WAY more than my Tams as far as the meat was concerned....this is my experience with both and I hope it helps.
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Old 09/13/12, 11:49 AM
highlands's Avatar
Walter Jeffries
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
Posts: 9,499
This spring we got both a purebred Tamworth and a purebred Berkshire boar. The Berkshire is better tempered. We also have other Tamworths. Generally I find they grow more slowly than our main herd which is a mix of primarily Yorkshire, Berkshire, Large Black, GOS, Tamworth and some others. The main herd grows faster and bigger - but then I've been doing intensive selective breeding on them for nearly a decade so they have that advantage.

The reason I got the Berkshire boar was for the marbling.

The Tamworth boar was an accidental acquisition. In general I would not look to add Tamworth. I don't find them to be as fast growing, as big, as good mothers or as good at pasturing as our main herd. I'm watching the Tamworth line that we have looking for what good might come out of it. I crossed it with Large Black and am now crossing it with the Berkshire. If I don't see what I want I'll set them as terminal generations. It takes a long time to figure this out though.

I did taint test all of the incoming lines and they came up negative:

Have Your Pig and Eat It Too | Sugar Mountain Farm

Maybe it's the genetics, maybe the feed, maybe the pasturing. Good to know though.

Taste wise I am not impressed with the pure Tamworth. It's okay. Better than store bought pork but not as good as our main lines. I have yet to really get to sample our Berkshire line and it will be a cross through the main line and TamxLB lines.

I breed and feed for about 3/4" to 1" of back fat with good marbling. If you're getting too fat pigs then back off the calories in the diet.


-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Sugar Mountain Farm | All Natural Pastured Pigs, Poultry, Sheep, Dogs and Kids in the mountains of Vermont
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Old 09/13/12, 09:35 PM
Rob30's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Ontario
Posts: 812
Thanks for the information. The guy that has the berk that I am looking at constant feeds his pigs. He usually keeps a duroc boar but tried the berk and found it too fatty. This was his complaint not mine.
As far as pasturing and tamworths. They are known as the grazing pigs. That is why we started using them. They are also supposed to be the best bacon producer. I know berks are supposed to have unique marbled meat.
All of our sows are cross breeds of duroc, hamp, york, and large black. We are interested in producing the best pastured pork we can.
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