Our Breeds

The Large Black Pig

The Large Black pig is native to southwestern England. Originally known as the Lop Eared Black, the breed was selected for large size and efficiency of production on pasture and other forages. The Large Black gained popularity rapidly during the last half of the 1800s, and it was one of the most numerous of the English pig breeds in 1900., however, the shift toward intensive husbandry of pigs led to the decline of outdoor breeds that were not competitive indoors. The Large Black nearly became extinct during the 1960s.  In 1973 the breed was put on Rare Breed Survival Trust’s critically endangered livestock list.

As its name implies, the breed is large framed and solid black. Lop ears fall forward over its face, and while they are an impediment to sight, they protect the eyes from damage while the pig is rooting and foraging. The Large Black is best known for its foraging abilities and its maternal qualities. Large Black sows are able to raise and wean large litters of piglets out of doors, and these survival characteristics give it great breeding value

Mature boars weigh 700-800 lbs (318-363 kg) and sows reach 600-700 lbs (272-318 kg) as an adult.

Because of the increased interest in pasture raised pork by consumers, Large Black hogs are beginning to be recognized as a great choice for pastured management systems. According to the Large Black Pig Breeders Club in the UK, the number of breeders rose from 114 in 2004 to 144 in 2007. In the US there are approximately 300 breeding Large Black hogs as of 2008.

Chicken and Eggs

At Glacier Valley Farm two separate breeds of chickens are being raised.  One breed is raised for their eggs and the other for their meat and are referred to as ‘layers’ and ‘broilers’ respectively.

The Lohmann Brown is the egg-laying breed.  The Lohmann breed begins laying eggs at about 18 weeks laying over 300 eggs a year. Eggs are laid daily, normally dawn or dusk. The Lohmann is a very inquisitive breed of chicken and very friendly, often kept as pets!

Most Lohmann Browns have a caramel/brown shade of feathers, with white feathers in a pattern round their necks, and white feathers at the tips of their tail feathers.

The Cornish-Rock is the ‘broiler’ of choice and is a cross of the famous Cornish hen with the Plymouth Rock breed of chicken. 

Most sources credit Alphonsine and Jacques Makowsky of Connecticut for developing the Cornish Hen in the mid-1950s. A Saturday Evening Post article from July 1955 credited Mrs. Makowsky with coming up with the idea to breed the Cornish game chicken, a small bird with short legs and a plump, round breast that she had discovered in a book. The Makowskys began cross-breeding the Cornish game cocks with various chickens and game birds, including a White Plymouth Rock Hen and a Malayan fighting cock, to develop the Cornish Rock game hen, a succulent bird with all-white meat suitable for a single serving.

The Plymouth Rock was developed in New England in the middle of the 19th century and was first exhibited as a breed in 1869.  Plymouth Rocks were bred as a dual-purpose fowl, meaning that they were valued both for their meat and for the hens’ egg-laying ability. The first Plymouth Rock was barred and other varieties were developed later. The breed became popular very rapidly, and in fact, until World War II, no breed was ever kept and bred as extensively in the United States as the Barred Plymouth Rock. Its popularity came from its qualities as an outstanding farm chicken: hardiness, docility, broodiness, and excellent production of both eggs and meat.