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There are two cute newcomers in Pets Corner. Meet our new Middle White piglet sisters! The pair join us from Hadleigh Farm and are just starting to settle into life at Mudchute.

An adult middle white sow.

An adult middle white sow.

The Middle White is a native and rare breed of pig with notable prick ears and a snub nose. The breed was known as “The London Porker” because of high demand for Middle White pork in the capital, but today these sisters are among the only Middle White pigs in London. The breed trace their roots to 1852 Keighley Agricultural Show in West Yorkshire and became one of the foundation breeds of the National Pig Breeders Association in 1884. The breed declined sharply during World War II, but the breed survived thanks to a few dedicated breeders. You can find out more about this fascinating pig breed from the British Pig Association and the Middle White Pig Society.

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This week we welcomed two beautiful sisters to the farm, our new large black piglets! Many thanks to John and Lorraine Cavanagh for helping bring this stunning native breed to Mudchute. The piglets may not look big now, but these sows will grow quickly and could easily weigh 300kg each as adults! Parkinson’s 1810 description of this native breed includes the following note on their impressive size “They are distinguished by their gigantic size, they are the largest of the kind I have ever seen, and as perfect a make as possible in pigs … their heads are large, with very long ears hanging down on each side of the face, so they can scarcely see their way”.

The large black is Britain’s only all black breed of pig and they have an interesting origin story. It’s said that two boatloads of all black pigs from China docked in Cornwall and East Anglia and these individuals were used to breed with the local pigs, resulting in the beginnings of the breed. To find out more about this rare native breed, visit the RBST page on Large Blacks as well as the Large Black Pig Breeders Club which was founded in 1889.

As a breed, large blacks are known for their docile nature and the new piglets are already very friendly. We’re sure they’ll be greatly loved by our visitors and already adored by our staff and volunteers! We hope you enjoy meeting them and look forward to sharing updates as they grow!