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New pigs (part two)
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Chinese pigs are once again influencing British breeders. In the 1980s one of the big pig-breeding companies began to use the Meishan to increase the prolificacy of its commercial line. The Meishan is one of the black, wrinkle-skinned, pot-bellied Taihu group of breeds from the Lower Changjiang (Yangtze) Basin.

New pigs (part two)

The American Hampshire, a major black-and- white saddleback in its home country and an important breed worldwide.

New pigs (part two)

The belted British Hampshire was developed from the American Hampshire (first imported into the UK in 1968) for crossing with commercial white sows and for creating new hybrids. In contrast to the British Saddleback, the Hampshire has prick ears.

The average number of the third litter is sixteen; it is not uncommon for them to have twenty piglets at a time, and they can produce two litters a year. The Meidam is an example of a commercial purebred dam line developed in Yorkshire from the Meishan: the Meidam has sixteen teats (compared with fourteen in the British Landrace). The new dam line, like others developed from Chinese breeds in Britain, has a much better carcass than the original Meishan.

New pigs (part two)

Chester White, promoted as a 'good milker', and the sows cross well with Duroc boars.

New pigs (part two)

The Chinese Meishan has wrinkled skin and heavy great ears drooping down like a spaniel's. Its belly is so low slung that it almost brushes the ground in a pregnant sow.

Other British pig-breeding companies followed suit with the Meishan and also with breeds such as the Jinhua, or 'black-at-both-ends' pig (white, with a black head and a round black patch like a target on its rear).The Jinhua is a pretty pig, rather endearing in its dumpiness, with a low belly in typical Chinese fashion, and ears hanging over its eyes. Females can be mated as young as three months old.

New pigs (part two)

New pigs (part two)

Pig-breeding companies used the Meishan to increase fecundity in British commercial lines, initially by breeding imported Meishan sows to Large White boars. The crossbred sows retained the Meishan's dipped back in the early stages of the programme.

It is of the same type as the black-and-white Cantonese, which was the original Chinese improver in Britain in the eighteenth century.
More recently it has been a two-way trade. In 2000, for example, British pig companies were exporting white piglets and sows in their thousands to China in joint ventures worth billions of pounds, to meet a big surge in demand for lean pork in urban parts of the Far East. The Chinese expressed admiration of British breeds of pigs (and poultry) and of British breeding technology, which was exported along with the animals.

New pigs (part two)

The small Jinhua was imported from China in the late twentieth century to improve prolificacy in British commercial breeds.

New pigs (part two)

Vietnamese Pot-bellied pigs became quite popular as pets and on farm parks, but were originally introduced to the UK as laboratory animals.

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