Гвинейская свинья (Guinea Hog) – это редкая американская порода домашних свиней, отличающаяся крепким телосложением, стоячими ушами и абсолютно чёрным окрасом. Несмотря на своё название, эти свиньи не имеют абсолютно никакого отношения к Гвинее, хотя, говорят, что их предки были завезены на территорию США из Западной Африки.
В сравнении с другими современными породами, гвинейская свинья – почти малыш: вес взрослой особи не превышает 90 кг. Свиней этой породы можно отнести к травоядным – они спокойно взращиваются на подножном корме, однако в промышленных масштабах гвинейские свиньи не выращиваются из-за своих малых размеров и большой жировой прослойки. В Северной Америке разводят два типа гвинейской свиньи, ещё один тип проживает в Южной Америке.
Предположительно, предки современных Гвинейских свиней, выращиваемых в США, были завезены из Западной Африки на судах, перевозивших рабов, и были большими, рыжими, щетинистыми и обладали длинными хвостами. В Штатах их скрещивали с другими породами: Аппалачскими Английскими свиньями, Эссекскими свиньями и Западноафриканскими карликовыми свиньями. В результате скрещиваний и селекционной работы появилась новая порода, которую назвали Американской Гвинейской свиньёй, но в некоторых источниках она фигурирует как Чёрная Гвинейская свинья. Эти свиньи стали пользовались большим спросом у фермеров начала 19 века по двум причинам:
Гвинейских свиней можно пасти, как обычный травоядный скот;
Гвинейские свиньи не боятся змей и вполне успешно их истребляют.
Однако к концу позапрошлого
столетия гвинейская порода была почти утрачена – её вытеснили более
продуктивные и большие промышленные свиньи. Тем не менее, благодаря
усилиям энтузиастов, Американские Гвинейские свиньи существуют до сих
пор. В 2005 году в США была создана ассоциация владельцев свиней этой
Сейчас Гвинейские свиньи причисляются к одной из официально признанных в Соединённых Штатах пород мини пигов.
The Guinea Hog is a small, black
breed of swine that is unique to the United States. Also known as the
Pineywoods Guinea, Guinea Forest Hog, Acorn Eater, and Yard Pig, the
breed was once the most numerous pig breed found on homesteads in the
Southeast. Today there are fewer than 200.
Hogs were imported from West Africa and the Canary Islands to America in conjunction with the slave trade. The imports were documented as early as 1804 by Thomas Jefferson and other Virginia farmers. These large, square animals were called Red Guineas, because they had red or sandy colored hair. Red Guineas were common throughout the mid-Atlantic region during the 1800s. The breed disappeared as a distinct population in the 1880s, when most of the red breeds and types of hogs in the eastern United States were combined to form the new Jersey-Duroc breed. Although extremely rare, occasionally Guinea hog breeders of today find red highlights in the hair of their Guineas and even more rare, is a completely red individual born.
The name Guinea occurs again a few decades later in the southeastern United States, though describing a different animal entirely – a small, black hog common on homesteads across the region. Guinea Hogs were expected to forage for their own food, eat rodents and other small animals, grass, roots, and nuts, and clean out garden beds. The hogs were also kept in the yard where they would eat snakes and thus create a safe zone around the house. These Guineas were hardy and efficient, gaining well on the roughest of forage and producing the hams, bacon, and lard essential for subsistence farming.
Guinea Hogs were widespread, and
descriptions of them varied. Generally, the hogs were small, weighing
100-300 pounds, and black or bluish-black in color. They had upright
ears, a hairy coat, and a curly tail. Beyond this, conformation varied,
as hogs could have short or long noses and be “big boned,” “medium boned,”
or “fine boned.” It is likely that many strains of Guinea Hogs existed.
Since most of these are extinct, it is now impossible to weave together
all the threads of the Guinea Hog story into a single neat piece.
The Guinea Hog became rare in recent decades as the habitat of the homestead hog disappeared, and it survived only in the most isolated parts of the Southeast. During the 1980s, new herds of Guinea Hogs were established, partly in response to the pet pig market.
Several mysteries confuse the breed’s history. The relationship between the historic Red Guinea and the Guinea Hog may be simply the common use of the term “guinea” to refer to an African origin. “Guinea” may also refer to the small size of the hogs, somewhat akin to the description of miniature Florida Cracker and Pineywoods cattle as “guinea cows.” The Guinea Hog may or may not be related to the Essex, a small, black English breed which was imported to the United States in about 1820 and used in the development of the Hampshire. Essex hogs were known to exist in the Southeast until about 1900. The Essex hog’s history is obscure and it eventually disappeared some time later that century. “Guinea Essex” pigs were used in research at Texas A & M University and at the Hormel Institute in the 1960s, though there is little information -available about those stocks.
Though the Guinea Hog would greatly benefit from additional research and description, it is clear that the breed is genetically distinct from improved breeds of hogs and merits conservation. Like other traditional lard-type breeds, however, the Guinea Hog faces great obstacles to its conservation. These hogs do not produce a conventional market carcass, since they are smaller and fattier than is preferred today. Guinea Hogs are, however, appropriate for use in diversified, sustainable agriculture. They would be an- excellent choice where there is need for the services of hogs (such as grazing, rooting, tilling compost and garden soil, and pest control) and also the desire for a small breed. Under such husbandry, Guinea Hogs would thrive, as they always have.
American Guinea Hog
The American Guinea Hog is the
ideal sustainable heritage farm pig, known for its moderate size,
excellent foraging abilities, friendly temperament, excellently flavored
meat and indispensable lard. While the American Guinea Hog is smaller
than industrial hog breeds, it is a good-sized farm pig providing a nice,
Origin: The American Guinea Hog is a true American heritage breed of domestic farm pig, perhaps over 200 years old. They developed as a landrace breed throughout the southeastern states of the USA. Anecdotal evidence suggests a European ancestry with other possible influences. It has been determined though genetic testing that the American Guinea Hog is a distinct breed.
Height: Adult American Guinea Hogs (at 2 years of age) range from 22 to 27 inches tall, adult males sometimes averaging one or two inches taller than females. Older animals may grow larger.
Body/Length: Fully grown adult
American Guinea Hogs range from 46 to 56 inches, measured from a point
between the ears to the base of the tail. They have a straight to
slightly arched back. From a side view, they should present a long,
rectangular appearance (with flat sides and rounded corners). As a
landrace breed, variations are common. Some hogs will be taller and
broader at the shoulders with slightly lower and narrower hips.
Weight: Well-conditioned, fully adult American Guinea Hogs range from 150 pounds to 300 pounds, depending on sex, frame-size, and body condition. Because American Guinea Hogs easily fatten, care should be taken to NOT overfeed, especially with grain. Excess weight will likely lead to fertility problems.
Head/Face/Ears/Tail: American Guinea Hogs have medium-small sized, upright ears (sometimes slight bent at the tips in adults). They have slightly dished faces with snouts that vary from rather short to medium-long. The tail has a single curl. Slightly forward facing eyes are common.
Color: Most American Guinea Hogs are solid black. A common variation due to a widely spread recessive gene, is solid black with minimal white points at the feet and tip of nose. Excess white (beyond the feet and the end of the snout) is discouraged. An extremely rare recessive red gene exists in the breed, and may rarely exhibit.
Hair: Adult American Guinea Hogs typically have medium to long, coarse, bristled, black hair, some tinged in reddish-brown tones or bluish-black tones.
Temperament: The American Guinea
Hog is exceptionally calm and friendly making it an excellent choice for
small sustainable family farms. They have exceptional mothering skills.
Females with piglets are easily managed, as are adult males. They do
well with children and a wide range of farm animals. It should be a goal
of breeders to maintain the good temperament of the American Guinea Hog.
Living Environment: While American Guinea Hogs are suited to a wide variety of environments and will do better than most breeds on low grade forage, they prefer lush pastures with clover along with access to minerals, kitchen scraps, quality hay in winter, clean water to drink, access to a muddy wallow, minimal shelter from precipitation and wind, dry bedding, and perhaps a small amount of grain. They thrive where ranging and grazing is a constant activity giving them plenty of exercise. They are minimal rooters when good grazing and adequate feed is available.
Life Expectancy: The expected life span of the American Guinea Hog is 10-15 years or until they are ready for culling and slaughter as farm livestock, providing excellent meat for the table.
Carcass: At six months, the American Guinea Hog may provide a nicely marbled carcass of up to 75 pounds hanging weight of gourmet-quality highly-flavored meat. Fat tends to peel easily from the meat. There is no need to castrate young male hogs intended for slaughter at six months of age.