Oaklands Pigs - Sharing our Expertise
Clare & Robin welcome you to the Oaklands Pigs website
Oaklands Farm is a working farm on the Kent/East Sussex Border, near Tunbridge Wells.
We started keeping pigs over 20 years ago, mostly raising weaners for the freezer before starting breeding from our own stock.
We run Pig Keeping courses from March to September.
In early 2005 we replaced our many assorted pigs with new pedigree saddleback breeding stock, the foundation of our saddleback herd today. We now have 6 different bloodlines of Saddleback sows, some of which are now quite rare and 2 boar lines.
Apart from these, we have examples of many of the other traditional pigs, including Old Spots, Large Blacks, Tamworths, Oxford Sandys, Landrace, and Kune Kune. We have also kept Middle Whites, Welsh, Berkshires and Mangalitzas in the past. We have around 20-30 adult breeding stock at any one time.
So between us we have many years of experience of buying, keeping and breeding pigs, and offer friendly advice to those new to pig keeping, or those thinking of moving on to breeding pigs.
Here at the farm we have set up a number of different environments in paddocks, woods, and barns with an assortment of styles of fencing and numerous varieties of arks, so that the newcomer can see all the possibilities and decide which would be best for their own set-up.
Being a small farm, we can take the time to discuss and help you choose your pigs, and give help and advice on setting up and all aspects of pig keeping.
For disease control purposes, we do not hire any boars from this farm, or accept sows for mating.
We are not able to offer any vet student or work experience placements, as there is very little maintenance required for our outdoor herd.
Recently we were contacted to take part in a long term stress analysis that was being conducted for outdoor, indoor and intensively reared pigs. The normal samples of blood, urine or saliva will give a instant reading of the pigs current stress level, but that does not help for long term analysis.
The answer is through taking hair samples. So the researcher Lisa pictured below set off down our field with her assistant and a small team of helpers that we had assembled. The process involved cutting a small amount of hair from the head, the back and near the tail all to be separately bagged and identified. The samples needed to be taken from 10 sows of the same breed who were kept in the same environment.
So with one of our helpers distributing food to distract the pig and keep the others at bay, another opened and identified the sample bags, while Lisa cut the samples. Another helper kept an eye on which pig we were sampling as they jostled for food and another read the tag and notch numbers so we could provide details of each pig’s age, number of litters etc, whilst the last helper sealed the bags and grouped them together in batches.
And surprisingly no-one fell over or got stuck in the mud, and the pigs were all very co-operative. The results are due in April, so watch this space.