Temple Newsam shows off its real-life pigs in blankets born at Christmas

These little pigs in blankets are far too special to douse in gravy.

Monday, 30th December 2019, 11:45 am
Kian Bradley, eight, with one of the pigs in blankets born in time for Christmas

Born at Temple Newsam Farm, the piglets celebrated their first Christmas this week after being welcomed to the world at beginning of the festive season.

All females, these rare Tamworth breed piglets will be kept on for sale through the Rare Breed Survival Trust, rather than ending up on your plate.

Temple Newsam's Home Farm is renowned for having some of the country's oldest and rarest breeds of farm animals.

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Temple Newsam farmer Robert Bradley with son Kian, eight, and the pigs born in time for Christmas

Dave Bradley, who has worked on the farm for nearly four decades, said the past winter has been one of the most difficult of his career for farming due to the sheer scale of wet weather.

He said: "All this wet weather is a problem to every farmer.

"It's been the worst and wettest weather I've known, and I've been farming all my life.

"We've had to bring the all the animals inside which makes it really tight for room. You will see very few cattle about in the fields now."

The rare breed female piglets will be sold on at shows rather than reared for meat

Piglets such as the farm's most recent litter are born throughout the year, but Dave said there will be more animals born in the run-up to Spring.

Lambing begins at the end of winter, usually from the end of January onwards, according to Dave, while calves aren't born until the end of the Spring and through the Summer.

Dave, 69, said: "We have around a hundred sheep to lamb, which are all rare breeds.

"The sheep are ready to lamb from January onwards.

Temple Newsam farmer Robert Bradley with son Kian, eight, and the pigs born in time for Christmas

"There are 84 cattle from the five herds to calf.

"In terms of pigs, we carry about ten sows on to breed. All the females go into shows and sales - we don't rear them for meat."

Temple Newsam Farm is one of the largest rare breed centres in Europe, and is open to the public all year round.

The rare breed female piglets will be sold on at shows rather than reared for meat