Idaho Pastured Pigs

Hello and welcome!  

Idaho Pastured Pigs, IPP's for short, are a new breed of pig.  They were designed with the small farmer, homesteader, and hobby farmer, in mind.  The breed developers of Idaho Pastured Pigs, Gary and Shelly Farris, have selected breeds known for excellent, red marbled meat and have thrown in an extremely gentle pig that is pasture based.

Idaho Pastured Pigs are a cross between three pig breeds: the Kunekune, the Berkshire, and the Duroc breeds.  

The Kunekune pig is a small, pasture pig from New Zealand. They are completely covered in hair and come in a variety of colors. They have really short, upturned snouts that are perfect for grazing. They are also naturally friendly. 

Kune Kune Pig/ Source

Berkshires are a heritage pig, known for their excellent meat qualities. They are slightly smaller at maturity than other breeds. They are great mothers and have a gentler disposition. Until the 1970’s the Berkshire had a relatively short snout. 

Berkshire Pigs - uvengwa - normal-berkshire-41.jpg
Berkshire Pig/Source

The third breed, the Duroc is known for its great meat qualities, has a fast growth rate, a relatively short snout. They were developed right here in the United States. 

The Duroc
Duroc Pig/Source

Idaho Pastured Pigs

IPP's have short, upturned, snouts. These snouts set them apart from other breeds and allow them to graze the grass instead of rooting it up.  They will root a fresh pasture, but then when all of the "good roots" have been eaten (they're crazy about dandelion roots) they will begin to graze and allow most of the pasture to grow back instead of keeping it a mud pit.  IPPs will keep one or two mud wallows in their pasture; a necessary part of the pig cooling process as they don't sweat much.

IPP's come in a variety of colors including red, red and black, black and white, tri-colored; ginger, and black and white. They may have wattles or tassels under their chin. Very few pig breeds have the wattles. IPP's have great conformation, with heavy shoulders and nice well rounded hams.

Tigger, our boar

Flower, our sow.

Idaho Pastured Pigs (IPP's) tend to be friendlier than domestic pigs. Sows are naturally protective of their piglets, but IPP sows have better dispositions at farrowing time.  I have sat beside and petted our sows and gently handled their piglets during farrowing.  I've been in our sow's pen and rubbed her belly while she is nursing her piglets and petted and handled them while she eats.

Fern, traded to DeBuck Farm

2015 piglets.  One boar (black/white/ginger), one gilt (ginger/black/white).

The boars are gentle to handle.  Our boar, Tigger, comes when he is called and "talks" to me.  He is a large, tusked boar though, and one must always use extreme caution around such a large animal - especially one with tusks.  Tusks are a gene from the kunekune pig and an IPP boar may or may not grow them.  

Tigger, our boar

Tigger talking to me.

IPP's can be butchered in 180 days like traditional hogs and will weigh about 150-200 lbs. at this time or can be held longer for a higher weight.    

IPPs do not get as big at maturity as traditional hogs. Idaho Pasture Pigs at maturity (roughly 18 months) are around 350 - 450 lbs; compared to 750+ lbs of other breeds - making them ideal for the small family homestead.  

Before the 1950's and the start of confinement type farms, the majority of pigs raised were raised on pastures and allowed to forage for feed.  Pasture based systems were absolutely essential in raising pigs. They needed the vitamins and proteins from the plants and the vitamin D from the sun. Then the development of providing vitamins like A and D into the feed came into play.  Farmers no longer had to have pigs outside to get the vitamins from the sun and forage. Confinement type farms sprang up. Pigs were housed by the thousands in these farms and still are today. 

Pig housing

Idaho Pasture Pigs can cost less to raise because they will forage in pastures planted with quality plants like alfalfa, clover and grasses.  Expensive grains and feed do not have to be purchased year round in the traditional quantities.  Pasture does not typically give pigs all the nutrients that they need, but it helps to reduce feed costs. 

Pigs raised on the natural environment of a pasture are less likely to get diseases.  If the pastures are rotated there are fewer parasites than there would be with confinement type pigs. 

Pastured pigs get plenty of exercise, which makes for firmer pork products. Pasture-raised pork has higher levels of vitamin E and healthier omega-3 fatty acids than traditionally raised pork. Omega-3s are considered the good fats and play an important role in every cell and system in the body. We also think it tastes better.

Pricing is $350 for a gilt, $350 for a boar.  
$700 for a breeding pair.
$125 for a barrow (castrated male)

Read more about Idaho Pastured Pigs in Farm Show Magazine.