Pasture Raised Pigs
At Amber Creek Farm we produce Gippsland grown, pasture raised pigs. We grow a variety of heritage breed, purebred Wessex Saddleback Pigs and Wessex Saddleback X’s (Duroc, Large White and Large Black). Wessex Saddlebacks are equipped for outdoor life and are vigorous foragers.
Wessex Saddleback meat is characterised by its slightly darker colour and heavier marbling which produces a sweet tasting pork. We also believe by breeding and consuming heritage breed pigs we are helping to keep the breed alive.
Our pigs live as pigs are meant to. This means curly tails, all of their teeth, and no nose rings so they are free to dig as they wish. We do not use chemicals, hormones, drugs and are GMO free.
Amber Creek’s pigs live outdoors for the entirety of their life span. This means that our sows are free to roam and our growers are all kept outdoors on pasture and provided with portable “arks” for shelter.
A Pig’s Life
In each paddock the pigs are kept in their litter group of approx. 10 pigs as they grow to maturity. Portable fencing defines the area that they are kept in and we use the pigs to strip graze the pasture and crops that are planted for them.
The pigs have unrestricted access to shelter, fresh water and wallows at all times throughout the year. This high traffic area is covered with wood chips from the on farm sawmill waste and all supplement food is given on this area. As a result this helps to manage the soil and keeps the area from becoming barren as well as allowing for better drainage throughout a Gippsland Winter!
As they walk across, dig and eat over this area the wood chips and waste food create amazing compost. This nutrient dense material is then spread over the paddocks to fertilise the ground once the pigs have moved forward. This area is then rested and if required re-sown with pasture or crops.
Over the course of the year over 50% of their diet is from the pasture, crops, grubs, roots and anything else that they can un-earth. The pigs are also fed waste vegetables from a local wholesaler and waste grain (GMO free) from a local supplier. Both the grain and vegetables were previously going to land fill.
Pigs are single stomach animals just like humans and require a balanced diet in order to grow and flourish. Feeding our pigs grain and whey in conjunction with pasture and vegetables is essential to their overall health and development. Pigs differ from cattle and sheep and are natural omnivores and cannot get adequate nutrition from the pasture alone. As pork producers it is illegal for us to feed swill (animal/meat products) so the pigs require grain or whey to help meet their amino acid requirements in particular lysine which is a building block for protein.
Amber Creek Farm Breeders
At Amber Creek we have one purebred Wessex saddleback boar, Johnson and a cross bred boar, Captain Peek, along with 10 sows. The sows live in pairs, each with their own paddock and shelter. When it is time to give birth (farrow) the sows are able to help each other raise their piglets.
Here they are free to roam and build their own nests in preparation for their offspring. The sows are free to choose to use the provided shelters or create their own with the materials provided. The piglets, once born are also free to roam, but in the initial weeks like to stick close to their mother. At approximately 8 weeks old the piglets are weaned and moved to the other side of the farm. The mothers are able to come into good condition prior to being re-joined with the boar.