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Books to buy

Below is a selection of very useful books on pigs that I am happy to recommend. These are all books I have bought, read and learnt something worthwhile from.

I've linked to but many of these books can be found much cheaper by doing a search or checking the Amazon UK site. Shop around for the best price.

Essential: If you breed your own pigs The Pigmans' Handbook of Problem Solving by Gerry Bent is a must buy purchase for you. It looks at every aspect of pig breeding all the way through to slaughter and asks and answers the key questions related to producing healthy piglets. Questions include: Why do my gilt not come on heat?, why do my sows not farrow?, why is my litters size too low?, why are so many of my pigs still born? all the way through to questions about feeding, growth rates and slaughter returns. The book is expertly written, gives clear and easy to follow advice, is well set out, and is well illustrated with photographs and diagrams.

Highly recommended. The Welfare of Pigs by Jeremy N. Marchant-Forde is is a huge book of 350 pages that looks at all aspects of pig welfare. Written by a range of experts in their field this is a highly readable book, based on the latest scientific study and research. It is the most authorative and comprehensive source of information on pig welfare available. If you have any interest in pig welfare and understanding the needs of the pigs you raise then this book will appeal.

Recommended. If you were to buy only one of John Gadds books this one, Pig Production problems: John Gadd's Guide To Their Solutions, is most probably the one to go for. It’s big (591 pages), well structured, covers pretty much every key pig topic you need to know about, and really offers some fine insights and solutions to common problems and issues. The fact that he gives case study evidence for solutions he has personally put in place during his long and eventful career as a pig consultant adds an awful lot of weight to what he says. Although aimed at intensive pig operations this book does offer a valuable aid to small holder operations and those following higher welfare pig raising.

Recommended but expensive!: The pig industry bible, Whittemore's Science and Practice of Pig Production is a 686 page book, now in its 3rd edition. It is the most complete and comprehensive source of information and enlightenment to those raising pigs. The breadth and depth of its coverage is second to none. If you can afford it, get it!

A book for pig obsessives. Pigs: A Handbook to the Breeds of the World by Valerie Porter delivers what is says in the book title. This is a comprehensive look at pig breeds and types of domesticated pigs by main geographic area and country. Each section has an introduction, which sets the regions pigs into the cultural as well as agricultural context, and each breed and their development is noted. Colour pictures of the breeds are included.

The Whole Hog: Exploring the Extraordinary Potential of Pigs by Lyall Watson book blurb describes it as a book that attempts to encompass everything that is known about pigs in the world. I’m not sure that it quite does that but it does have a certain appeal that’s hard to pinpoint. Maybe it is because it’s a celebration of all things pig. It’s part history, part anthropology and part memoir and looks at wild and domestic pigs. The history of how pigs got to America and developed there is the best I’ve read and the authors personal experiences of pigs and their behavior, especially those relating to his African pig are really touching. You’ll certainly get a better insight and understanding of pigs from this book than the other pig books mentioned in this section.

Highly recommended: Surviving in the Eighties by Michael Boddy and Richard Beckett is is without question the best book I’ve read on self sufficiency and raising farm animals. Don’t be deceived by the title, it’s as relevant today as the 1980’s and the practical approach is applicable to all climates that have a cold and hot season. The content covers all aspects of raising animals (pigs, hens, ducks, goats, cows, sheep etc.) plus growing your own vegetables and is full of the most delightful drawings that illustrate all aspects of the content. The section on pigs is very thorough. Get a copy whilst you can! (even if its only a 2nd hand copy).

Recommended: There are many books that deal with the horror of factory farms. I’m going to recommend just one, this one, aptly called Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms by Nicolette Hahn Niman. It deals with both animal and environmental issues related to the factory farming system of raising food. It’s well written, tells a powerful story and shows how, if you care enough, you can find ways of raising meat in a high welfare way. Read it!