Yorkshire Pigs: Breed info, Lifespan, & more!

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Of all the varieties of pigs, the American Yorkshire pig is one of the most popular. They are large pigs that produce both well-textured bacon and leaner cuts of meat.

Their large size means they aren’t suitable for small farms, but as long as they have enough space to run around, they will be happy.

Why choose Yorkshire pigs?

Yorkshire pigs are excellent farm animals. They are strong and sturdy and because of their size to length ratio, they are actually quite active.

They need a bit more space than other types of pigs, but their positive attributes make them a natural choice for most farmers. Sows produce large litters and have excellent mothering instincts.

Once fully matured, Yorkshire pigs are slaughtered for their back bacon and lean cuts of meat.

History and Origin of Yorkshire Pig

Like many breeds of pigs, Yorkshire pigs were originally from England.

While their transplant to the United States in 1830 solidified their name in the US, in England they are now called The English Large White pig.

Nowadays, Yorkshire pigs are found all over the United States with large populations in Illinois Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, and Ohio

Unlike other popular breeds of pigs, Yorkshires have a slow growth rate, which negated their popularity.

However, their large production of back fat and contrasting lean meat have actually resulted in them being the most popular breed in the United States.

**Looking for other pig breed options? Check out our guide about Berkshire pigs here!**

Yorkshire Pig Characteristics

yorkshire pigs characteristics

Size

Yorkshire pigs are classified as medium-sized pigs. However, they have rather long bodies and solid legs and feet.

Their proportionate size allows the Yorkshire breed to be quite active and healthy.

They need plenty of room to run around and receive adequate exercise.

Weight

Male Yorkshire pigs can weigh between 550 and 750 pounds. Female pigs can weigh between 450 to 650 pounds.

They are not suitable as a domestic pig.

Color

When you think of pigs, you often think of cute animals that are pink in color.

Well, Yorkshire pigs may be a bit bigger than this image, but they sure fit the description.

Yorkshires are light pink in color, making them almost seem like a white pig from the distance.

Their faces are slightly indented and they have erect ears. Furthermore, their tails curl slightly, giving this breed of swine an almost whimsical look.

Behavior

Yorkshire pigs are large, but they are also long which means they are actually quite agile. They need a fair bit of space to be housed.

While you can raise Yorkshire pigs on a hobby farm, make sure you have adequate space for them.

While Yorkshire pigs do need space to be active, their easy-going nature means they do adapt to small, confined spaces when necessary.

Just make sure there is a good balance so these pigs can maintain their optimal health.

Temperament

You can expect somewhat docile creatures from this breed. While they aren’t as serene as other types of pigs, they are definitely not aggressive and are generally well-mannered.

Lifespan

You can expect Yorkshire pigs to live between 6 to 10 years.

However, due to the fact they are used for meat production, most pigs don’t live past 1 to 2 years.  

Their large size also makes them more susceptible to common pig illnesses.

These include bronchial issues, pneumonia, and parasite infections.

Related Article: Duroc Pigs, an abundance of well-marbled meat!

Breeding

Yorkshire pigs have a lot of characteristics that make them excel at breeding.

They are strong and thick-skinned, allowing them to withstand harsher climates.

Below is a short video of Yorkshire pig breeding:

While breeding within the Yorkshire lineage is common, make pigs, or boars, are often crossbred with other breeds.

The result is that Yorkshire pigs play an important role in the intricate pig farming system in the United States.

Female pigs, or sows, are well-known for their mothering ability. They will produce litters of 10 to 12 piglets, which is slightly higher than average.

Sows have excellent milk production so there won’t be any issues with nursing or subsequent weaning.

Feeding/What do they eat

You can feed Yorkshire pigs a variety of food. Kitchen scraps including vegetables, fruit, and bread can make up a large part of their diet.

You should also supplement their diet with pig pellets that are packed with all the micronutrients they need for a healthy, balanced diet.

Quality of Meat

yorkshire pigs meat quality

Can you imagine not having bacon for breakfast? Thanks to the Yorkshire pig, you don’t have to worry about this.

Their muscular, fatty backs are a favorite for pork producers. In addition, the rest of their bodies have a high proportion of lean meat, allowing this pig to have a variety of different cuts to sample.

Other popular cuts of meat from Yorkshire pigs include pork chops and ribs.

Yorkshire pigs are sometimes seen as higher-class pork. Their ability to be active and leaner than other pigs means there is less excess fat and therefore less wastage once they have been slaughtered.

Related Content: Hampshire pigs, good for breeders?

Related Questions

What is the Yorkshire pig used for?

Yorkshire pigs have had a variety of purposes over their existence. They were fattier meat over 100 years ago and used primarily for bacon.

Over time, Yorkshire pigs have increased their proportion of lean meat and are now used to cultivate lean meat, especially in the United States.

Because Yorkshire pigs are so hearty, the male boars are often crossbred with other pig breeds.

What do Yorkshire pigs eat?

Yorkshire pigs need a lot of food to eat. Thankfully, this can be a mixture of specialty pig food and kitchen scraps.

For pig food, look for pellets that offer a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins.

Kitchen scraps should be primarily vegetables, but make sure there is a variety of vegetables so pigs stay as healthy as possible.

How many piglets can a Yorkshire pig have?

You can expect a litter size of 10 to 12 piglets with Yorkshire pigs, which is slightly higher than the average for pigs.

Conclusion

While it took a while for Yorkshire pigs to reach their full potential, they are now widely seen on most farms in the United States.

And the next time you’re eating bacon, you can probably thank a Yorkshire pig for your breakfast.

yorkshire pigs

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