Sycamore Valley Farms

Sycamore Valley Farms

Our GOS Pigs

The Gloucestershire Old Spots (pronounced Glostersheer) is a historic heritage pig breed known for its distinctive white coat with black spots. The breed was developed in the Berkley Vale of Gloucestershire, England, during the 1800s. British folklore claims the large black spots are bruises caused by the apples falling onto them as they foraged the orchard floors for food. 

Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs are on the Livestock Conservancy’s list of endangered pigs in the U.S. These amazing animals were almost extinct in the US in the 1990’s, however, small farmers all over the nation are working to hard to preserve the breed and promote the delicious pork that it produces. Below are some fun facts that we love about our Old Spots and are the reasons we choose to raise them on our farm!


ABOUT OLD SPOTS

The meat of the Gloucestershire Old Spots is superior to that of commercially-raised meat from more common breeds, even earning the first-ever Traditional Specialty Guaranteed designation for swine of any breed from the EU Commission, which is akin to designations for Champagne and Parmigiano-Reggiano that guarantee their provenance and quality.

MEAT:

The Gloucestershire Old Spots pig is known for its docility, intelligence, and prolificacy. The breed’s maternal skills make it able to raise large litters of piglets on pasture. Its disposition and self sufficiency make it attractive for farmers raising pasture pigs and those who want to add pigs to diversified operations. 

DISPOSITION:

Old Spot pigs are excellent foragers and grazers. They are thrifty, able to make a living from pasture, forest, or agricultural by products, such as whey from cheese making, windfall apples in orchards, and the residue from pressing cider. These easy keeping qualities gave Gloucestershire Old Spots the nicknames “cottage pig” and “orchard pig.” 

FORAGING:

WHY OLD SPOTS?

This famous old breed originated in the Berkeley Vale, on the southern shores of the river Severn in Gloucestershire, and was frequently kept in the cider and pear orchards of the area, and on dairy farms. Both windfall fruit and waste from the dairies was used to supplement a predominantly grazed diet in the early days.
 
At the heart of the breed's desirability is its quiet and relaxed character. There can be few more docile pigs than the Gloucestershire Old Spots and, while the large, lopped ears play a big part in this, these animals also benefit from an inherent calm and laid-back attitude to life.  

Owning and rearing these pigs at home is easy with a bit of land to spare, and the resources necessary to offer a good home for five or six months. Gloucestershire Old Spots really do represent one of the best options around; it really does have all the important attributes needed to help ease new keepers into the hobby in a gentle and stress-free way.

Scottish Highland cattle originated in the Highlands and Outer Hebrides islands of Scotland and records also show that Highlands are actually the oldest registered breed in the world, mostly due to the fact that their herd book predates all others.

Highlands are medium in size, with cows weighing 900 to 1,300 pounds and bulls 1,500 to 2,000 pounds. They have long, shaggy coats that most commonly light red, but many other solid colors are also seen, including black, brindle, cream, dun, red and white.  The horns of the Highland cows sweep out and up, while those of the bulls are horizontal with upturned tips.

Although groups of cattle are generally called 'herds', a group of Highlands is known as a 'fold'.

In 2019, Highland cattle became numerous enough to graduate from the Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List. In numbers, this means that there are more than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States and more than 25,000 animals globally. 

MORE OLD SPOT FACTS!

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Thank you for your interest in our Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs! We get lots of calls and emails with questions about our Old Spots and our farm. We have attempted to answer the ones we get most often and hope this will serve as a resource to those interested in our pigs. If you have questions that we do not answer here do not hesitate to contact us using the form on our contact page. 

INFORMATION

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Thank you for your interest in our Scottish Highland Cattle! We get lots of calls and emails with questions about our cows and our farm. We have attempted to answer the ones we get most often and hope this will serve as a resource to those interested in our Scottish Highland Cattle. If you have questions that we do not answer here do not hesitate to contact us using the form on our contact page. 

INFORMATION

Read More...

Thank you for your interest in our Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs! We get lots of calls and emails with questions about our Old Spots and our farm. We have attempted to answer the ones we get most often and hope this will serve as a resource to those interested in our pigs. If you have questions that we do not answer here do not hesitate to contact us using the form on our contact page. 

INFORMATION

Read More...

Thank you for your interest in our Scottish Highland Cattle! We get lots of calls and emails with questions about our cows and our farm. We have attempted to answer the ones we get most often and hope this will serve as a resource to those interested in our Scottish Highland Cattle. If you have questions that we do not answer here do not hesitate to contact us using the form on our contact page. 

INFORMATION

Want added to our waitlist?

Have additional questions?

We will interview all buyers to make sure our cattle are a good match for you and your family. We want to ensure that when they leave our farm they are going to a loving environment. We will want to know what your goals are. Are you wanting to breed them or raise them for pork? Below are a few important things that you need to know about owning an Old Spot pig.......

1) Old Spots, like all pigs, are very social animals. So having more than one is critical as they are more at ease when they are with swine friends. If you do not already own pigs we will not sell a single piglet, we will require purchasing at least two. 

2) Our Old Spots are very hardy and can do well in most environments. However, they will need access to food, water, and shelter prior to being brought to your farm or homestead. The shelter does not have to be fancy (we use old calf hutches) but they need a place to get out of the sun, heat, and/or cold depending on the season. We recommend that our Old Spots have access to a wooded area as they can tend to get sunburnt with their light colored skin. Daily clean water and feed are required. Many people think because Old Spots are excellent foragers that they can only be raised on pasture, but that is not true. They will still need daily feed that includes the correct balance of minerals and fat content in order for them to be healthy. 



I am interested in purchasing an Old Spot Pig, what important things do I need to know?

Beginning the summer of 2022 we will begin offering farm tours for small groups. We love when our customers come to the farm to buy their meat, and we always love showing them our animals, but we do not allow "drop in" farm visits just to see our animals. We will have scheduled days and times that small groups (5 or less) will be able to come and learn about all of our farm animals including our Old Spots. We will share out more information in the coming weeks so be sure you signed up for our emails and follow us on Instagram or Facebook! 

Are we allowed to visit your farm to see your Old Spots? 

Yes, we sell gilts and boars from our registered Old Spots. However, we do not sell our unregistered Old Spots as we raise them all for our pork program. We currently sell our registered Gloucestershire Old Spots for $500 each at weaning. If you would like to be placed on a contact list and notified when our farm has Highlands available for sale please click HERE and fill out your information and we will contact you when we have piglets available. 

Do you sell your Gloucestershire Old Spots? 

We currently have 2 registered sows, 1 unregistered sow and 1 registered boar. We register our gilts and boars with Gloucestershire Old Spots of America. We do not sell our piglets as unregistered. We are working hard to try and preserve this amazing historic breed and selling unregistered piglets does not align with our goals or values.  

Are your Old Spots Registered?

Do you sell breeding pairs? 

At this time we do not have breeding pairs available as our litters are all related to one another. However, we plan to diversify in the near future so that we can offer unrelated pairs to those interested in breeding Old Spots.