SHOWING THE BERKSHIRE PIGS
Show success to date
Many many Berkshire breed championships, but the pinnacle was winning the Berkshire 'Champion of Champions' 2009 and then again in 2013. (This last winning sow has been Reserve Champion to much younger boars in 2014 and 2015.) This event at the Berkshire County Show is where the winners from the year's shows come together at Newbury in September for a contest to find the best on the day. My winner in 2009 was an in-pig gilt Dittisham Lady 3669, seen in the banner above. In 2013 it was the sow Kilcot Mermaid 7.
Shows usually attended, with cattle or pigs:
Devon, Bath & West, Cornwall, Mid Devon, Okehampton, Newbury
Selection for showing
Initial tenative selection takes place when the litter is examined and notched at 10 days old. The best pigs then are invariably the best pigs later. Detailed notes are taken re teatlines, markings, relative weight within the litter, mouth correctness, and any unusual features.
Good underline or 14 even teats is most important....
Sows can have up to 14 piglets so 14 teats are required; so pigs without 14 nicely spaced teats are usually rejected as breeders.
Training for showing
None ! Pigs do not respect a board and stick at home, but it only takes one show to train them to a good standard....
Showing is fun - other pig show people are invariably friendly and keen to help beginners. The Berkshire breed classes are divided into age / sexed classes, followed by a play-off for the best female, a play-off for the best male, then a play-off for the overall Breed Champion. The skill is to get your pig into the right mood for the time of the class. This means feeding her carefully in the morning so that she isn't asleep but keen to come out and forage BUT not so hungry that she eats the ring rather than walk around it. Delicate balance! Little pigs will run away occasionally and delight the audience, but older pigs tend to be reasonably easy to show, walking around guided by the board (which blocks their vision and stops them even thinking of going that way) and the stick (which they instinctively move away from). Keeping an eye on the judge is essential as he gazes around the ring looking to confirm his placings.
Success won the chance to be sculpted, for my sow Dittisham Lady 22
Sculpted by Nick Bibby contact him at email@example.com if you have a few £000 to invest in one of the 12 limited edition bronze castings. Exhibited at the London Sladmore Gallery, March 2010.