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The Alternative French system: Porc Basque

The Porc Basque System is only used in a small location, the Basque region. Producers in this system have to use pure-breed animals, the local breed Porc Pir Noir du Pays Basque, which is genetically protected through the French Institute for Pig Production, IFIP. Porc Basque is particularly adapted to processing of cured ham (like the Bayonne ham). Pigs are slaughtered at 12 months of age with a minimum carcass weight of 100 kg (130 kg live weight). Fattening pigs are kept outdoors in natural habitat with 250 mē/pig on average. Reproductive sows are kept outdoors, or indoors in pens with straw, during gestation and lactation with their piglets. Piglets are weaned between 4 and 6 weeks of age.

Piglets born indoors on slatted floor but kept outdoors as weaners. Video: Julie Ryschawy