Pigs & Sheep
When we started the farm we were offered a range of rare breed pigs and sheep from a farm that was closing down. The pigs were mostly Kune (an indigenous New Zealand breed) and the sheep Soays, from one of the northern isles of Scotland.
We established them on the farm and enjoyed both herds of animals enormously. The Kunes are friendly, happy creatures and are very independent – mothers build their own nests under trees and come proudly trotting back a few days later with a healthy litter of piglets following along behind. The Soays likewise are independent, needing no help with lambing and no shearing as they naturally drop their own wool.
Sadly neither breed is economic, as we have found out. Rare breeds are rare for a reason – Kunes put on weight very slowly, most of it is fat, they are a small pig and processing their meat is difficult and very expensive.
There are similar problems with the Soays, being small, slim and slow growing animals. So we introduced Manx sheep, a similar but larger breed, and a Saddleback/Essex cross pig which we currently find very successful.