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Breed with lean meat?

 
Guarren cito
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Hey all,
I really like pork, but in small doses because it can sometimes be a little fatty. Is this because I eat from the supermarket? I don't mean to come off as a snob, but I'm trying to pick a group of animals to raise and pigs sound perfect except that the pork I've had is pretty fatty. In Mexico they have a saying that if you eat pork you turn into a pork.
 
Adam Klaus
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Hi Guarren,
Oddly enough, the commercial pig breeds, primarily yorkshire hyrids, have been bred to be super lean. So from my understanding, the supermarket pork has been bred and fed to be as lean as possible. Myself, I want to raise a lard breed, like American Guinea Hogs, because I believe that the fat is the best and most nutritious part of the animal, when raised and fed properly.

I agree completely that eating lots of pork makes you (look like) a pig. Its crazy, everytime I see a hog farmer it's like I can see it in their face. Truly, this is the most compelling reason for me to not raise pork. I would much rather resemble a big strong bull.

good luck!
 
David Hartley
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Help me to understand why you don't want the fat. Seems rather odd to me from what I've learned over the years.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Fat content has a lot to do with genetics, feed and management. There are many lean breeds. If you want very lean then feed a low calorie diet, e.g., pasture without supplementing with corn or any other high energy feed.

The other big issue is that the fat from pasture raised pigs tastes very different, much sweeter and better than what you get on the commercial hog feed fed pigs that are typically in the supermarkets from the factory farms.

My suggestion would be to try cuts of meat from local pasture based farmers until you find what you like and then keep buying there. Flavors and fat content will vary farm to farm with the breed, feed and management.
 
John Polk
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@ Adam, If you are looking for a lard breed, consider the American Mule Foot.
Not common now, but readily available from many good breeders.

Back in the day, (before vegetable oils were common and affordable), the Mule Foot was the most common breed on American farms. Besides cooking oil, they also supplied fuel for the lanterns. They provided all of the needed meat, plus a surplus of quality lard/oil.



 
Walter Jeffries
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John Polk wrote:The Mule Foot was the most common breed on American farms.


Oh? First I've heard that said. Any citations? This is very nearly the opposite of what I've heard before.
 
John Polk
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Don't recall exactly where I read it, but the source was from the Ozarks.
Perhaps it was a regional thing.

Anything that could produce 300 pounds of useful product, with zero input from the farmer was welcome on any farmstead.

 
Nicholas Mason
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The Fat is what gives pork such a good flavor. You should look into the http://www.farmsteadmeatsmith.com/. I believe that the problem more has to do with the quality of the fat. In out nutrient starved world we seem to be looking more in to quantities of instead of qualities of. Commercial pigs are gross and fat, and the fat that they have is probably not the best for you. But pasture raised pig, with good feed will have plenty of space will have good healthy fat on it waiting for your consumption.
 
Guarren cito
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Thank you guys for being so patient with my ignorance! I'll try a local butcher shop to see if they sell pork, I'm sure it's night and day different.

I want to start a small mixed herd for meat, milk, and fiber and pigs are one of the animals I'm considering.

Is pork bad for you? I know that pork is supposedly the meat with the highest fat content and is supposed to be bad for your heart.

I'm sure pasture raised pork is better for you than farm pigs, but does anyone have any documentation?
 
Walter Jeffries
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Pork is good for you: protein, fats, minerals, vitamins - all good things and nutritionally dense.

For your heart they talk about having too much Omega-6 fatty acids being a problem. That comes from grain feeding animals. Pastured animals eat a lot of plants which produces high Omega-3 fatty acids - the kind that is good for your heart. Pasture grasses, clover and other forages make up the majority of our pig's diet. Outdoor pigs also have higher Vitamin D content in their fat.

Don't let the anti-fat people confuse you. We need fat in our diet and not all fats are the same. There are plant based and animal based fats that are good for you and others that are bad for you.

For documentation, Google and you'll get plenty of conflicting views.
 
Adam Klaus
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Pasture raised pork is not bad for you, but I think there are more nutritious choices in meat. The Bible wasnt wrong about everything.

100% grassfed beef or lamb is going to be more nutritious for you than any pork. Why? Because of the superior digestive system of a grazing ruminent.

IMHO, fat is the most important part of a nutrient dense diet. The origin of the fat is critical, and must come from good sources. Feedlot fat is gross, unhealthy, and tastes poor. In contrast, fat from naturally grazing ruminents, or wild harvested fish, is a totally different food, a superfood in my opinion. Like Walter said, do some research and see all the conflicting viewpoints, find what seems right to you.

I myself have been most heavily influenced by the pioneering research of Weston A Price. He now has a foundation dedicated to teaching people about the benefits of traditional diets that are high in animal fats and fermented foods. That is where my diet has gravitated to, and I have never felt better or been healthier. Of course, ymmv.

 
Walter Jeffries
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Adam Klaus wrote:100% grassfed beef or lamb is going to be more nutritious for you than any pork. Why? Because of the superior digestive system of a grazing ruminent.


Superior digestive system? Herbivores? Hardly. Ruminants can't digest much besides a few forages. They tend to be specialized in those as well. Omnivores can digest just about anything. Pigs are omnivores. Our pigs primarily eat pasture which costs largely of grasses. They thrive on it. Contrary to myths cows and such are not the only ones who can eat grasses and such.

Being omnivores, pigs also eat a wide variety of other plants, grubs, roots, mice, snakes, wood (rotting logs, brush), leaves and just about anything else they can find. Herbivores die on high legume diets. Pigs thrive on high legume diets. (Legumes are things like clover which are high in protein - causes bloat and death in ruminants.)

I would not argue that one is the only thing to have, rather have a balance of animals and eat a balance of things in your own diet. But lets be clear, ruminants do not have a superior digestive system. It is limited.
 
John Polk
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There was a huge 'anti-fat' craze about a decade ago. Every other news broadcast had a feature on how bad fats were for your diet. This stigma still exists with many who have not followed up on the more recent research.

Almost every product that used to be a 'high fat' food has now come out with a 'low-fat' version, by popular demand. The sad thing is that most of these products replaced the removed fats with sugars to maintain 'palletability'.

True, if one spends 40 hours sitting behind a desk at work, then sits in front of the TV for 40 hours per week at home, their need for fats will be reduced from those of a more active lifestyle.

 
Adam Klaus
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Hi Walter, You're a pig guy, I'm a cow guy. We've both got our biases and our preferences, leave it at that. Nothing personal, on either side. Fwiw, I really respect how you raise your pigs, enough said.

What I mean by cows having a superior digestive system is their ability to extract the maximum amount of nutrition from their feed. If you compare food in/excrement out, cows are drawing out a much higher percentage of the nutrition from their feed than pigs are. This is why pig manure is so much hotter than cow manure. The length of the digestive tract is the reason for this. Cows have four stomachs and a rumen, all extracting nutritional value at each step in their digestion. Pigs (and humans) just cant compete. Being omnivores, they may consume a richer diet, but their digestion is comparitively poor, so a large amount of their intake is not metabolized effectively, hence the high nitrogen levels in the manure.

Not that it is particularly important here, but cows can in fact thrive on a legume only diet. The Utah Experiment Station did studies a century ago with cows on 100% alfalfa diets, and the cows were perfectly healthy with excellent fertility and high milk production. Due to the cows digestive abilities, they can live on grass alone, but they can also live on primarily or even exclusively legumes. I aim for as high a percentage legumes as possible in my cows, and have never had a single issue with bloat.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Adam Klaus wrote:What I mean by cows having a superior digestive system is their ability to extract the maximum amount of nutrition from their feed. If you compare food in/excrement out, cows are drawing out a much higher percentage of the nutrition from their feed than pigs are.


There is an old saying that you can raise a pig on the manure of two cows. This is because a lot of what the cow eats passes right through and is useable by other species such as pigs, chickens, beetles, earthworms, etc.

Adam Klaus wrote:This is why pig manure is so much hotter than cow manure.


Pig manure from grain fed pigs, yes, not pastured pigs.

Adam Klaus wrote:Not that it is particularly important here, but cows can in fact thrive on a legume only diet.


Everything I've read, and experienced with sheep, on that talks about how it causes bloat and kills sheep, cows, etc.

Adam Klaus wrote:The Utah Experiment Station did studies a century ago with cows on 100% alfalfa diets


Sorry I wasn't 100% clear. I said legumes and I said clover. Specifically the research shows clover legumes as being the biggest problem for cows. They do better on alfalfa. Pigs do great on alfalfa and clover too.

 
Cj Sloane
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Guarren cito wrote:I'll try a local butcher shop to see if they sell pork, I'm sure it's night and day different.


Your local butcher shop may sell the same crap that the supermarket sells!

Go to the farmers market. If you like it, bite the bullet and buy a half a pig, it's much cheaper and you'll get to try lots of cuts. You can usually find sellers on craig's list around here if farmer's market sellers aren't selling whole/half.
 
Alex Hamond
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If your in an area with populations of feral hogs, go out and shoot one, five, or ten. It's cheap, lean, free range pork for little more than the cost of the bullet, any travel, and processing if you have someone else do it for you. The younger the better really, a couple 50-75lb pigs on a hunting trip is a good bit of meat. In most places they can be hunted year round as as an invasive species. Any farmer that has feral hogs on their property would probably gladly let you shoot as many as you want because they tear things up in a bad way and breed like rabbits. Some people capture them live with dogs or traps, and fatten them on grain for until ready to slaughter just because the meat is much leaner on a feral pig, gives it a bit more of a domestic flavor. It's a pretty good deal, you get all the lean pork you desire without having to take care or feed them. Be prepared for it to taste a bit different than pork from the grocery or farm, a wild natural diet is responsible for this. Aim for the sows and young pigs. Adult males are not worth anything as far as taste unless castrated young and released to be caught/shot later.

Figured I would throw that out there, otherwise if you are raising pigs. If they have a lower fat content breed mostly free range diet with an active lifestyle, maybe supplement with a little bit of grain if you want them to tear up a certain area, they will plow a plot of dirt rooting for stuff to eat. Given enough space and a warm enough climate, they can survive without people it's why feral pigs are such a problem in some areas.
 
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