A promising hybrid of dubious origins – the Karmala pig
It is unlikely that any other breed is now causing such lively controversy as the karmaly pigs. Piglets are asking for fabulous sums, and sellers are vying with each other to extol the extraordinary qualities of this breed, which does not exist today. Let’s try to figure out if karmal pigs are really that good and whether it is worth breeding them.
Pig karmales are widely known only on the territory of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Judging by their appearance, they appeared as a result of multiple crossing of Hungarian downy mangalits with a Korean herbivore and Vietnamese pot belly.
Additional confusion about the origin of karmales is caused by the following points:
- Vietnamese pot-bellied and Korean herbivorous pigs are very similar and it is difficult for a layman to determine the breed correctly;
- farms contain a huge number of a wide variety of crosses of European and Asian breeds;
- many pig breeders call the descendants of the Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs “mangal”, and not the male downy mangalitsa, which adds even more confusion when trying to understand the pedigree of karmal piglets.
Experts believe that the piglets offered for sale under the guise of “regular karmales” are descendants of Asian breeds or their crosses. Asian roots are clearly visible in the photo of karmal pigs – thick dark fur, back with a sag, sagging belly and an elongated body with short legs.
In addition to “ordinary karmales”, so-called “royal karmales” are found in advertisements for the sale of “thoroughbred young animals”. Judging by the long wavy bristles, the royal karmales are descendants of the crossing of ordinary with Hungarian mangalits..
It is very risky to take piglets of such dubious origin for fattening and breeding. Descendants of such inbreeding may not inherit parental traits, and closely related crossbreeding is always fraught with the appearance of deformities and other undesirable qualities..
Description of the karmal pig breed
Pig breeders are enthusiastic about the characteristics of the Karmal pigs. According to them, the pets inherited the best properties of their Hungarian and Asian ancestors. Like the Hungarian mangalitsa, the karals have a dense coat that allows free pasturing all year round. From pot-bellied and herbivorous “Asians” they adopted a healthy maternal instinct, abundance, friendly disposition and quick weight gain on juicy green forages.
According to the descriptions of pig breeders, karmalas represent an ideal pig with excellent qualities such as:
- good health and frost resistance;
- good immunity;
- peaceful character;
- rapid puberty;
- the possibility of subsequent fertilization one month after farrowing;
- low percentage of fat in meat.
The exterior reflects a whimsical blend of European and Asian roots:
- short head of medium size;
- short wide neck;
- large short snout;
- White skin;
- the body is short, barrel-shaped;
- back without pronounced deflection;
- slightly sagging belly;
- short strong legs.
Animals have an elongated coat with a thick brown, black or gray undercoat. Sometimes there are red, striped or spotted individuals.
Pigs almost do not differ in weight from boars. The weight of an adult pig is 190-230 kg.
Care and breeding recommendations
Thanks to the thick coat, the pigs tolerate even severe frosts well. Therefore, it is more profitable to keep them on free grazing. For protection from bad weather, paddocks should be located on the territory. It is not necessary to insulate them, but it is necessary to carefully seal all the cracks in order to exclude drafts..
Unlike their less exotic counterparts, our frost-hardy pigs do not dig under fences, so a light metal mesh on poles is enough to enclose the enclosure..
Karmals are unpretentious in food, with appetite they absorb dry food, crushed grains, vegetables, fruits, grass, unspoiled food leftovers from the table.
Young pigs are of childbearing age at 4 months. With good care and nutrition, pregnancy and childbirth are smooth. Karmals are caring mothers. They take great care of the piglets. The nipples of sows are evenly developed, so there is enough food for babies even with multiple farrowings.
The subtleties of growing and fattening piglets
Adult sows produce 10 to 22 piglets. Cubs are born small but strong. They suck actively and are very mobile..
Piglets of any color can be found in the same litter at karmal – black gray, striped, spotted, sandy..
By about a month, the stripes disappear and the pigs acquire a color corresponding to the breed.
Feeding and caring for karmal piglets is not much different from other herbivorous breeds. Starting from the second week of life, babies are offered fresh, finely chopped grass. Mineral additives are placed in a separate feeder – charcoal or red clay. Drinking bowls change water regularly.
By the age of two weeks, they gradually accustom themselves to liquid porridges, boiled in water or skimmed milk. Then boiled vegetables are added to the diet. First they are rubbed, then cut into small pieces. In the summer, there should be plenty of grass and greenery.
All uneaten food from the trough must be removed, and the dishes must be washed with hot water and baking soda. Digestion in piglets is very gentle, since hydrochloric acid in the stomach is not yet formed.
At the age of 1 month, babies are transferred to a separate room. The sow by this time is already ready for the next mating.
For rapid growth, piglets are given thick cereals – barley, oatmeal, pea. Supplemented with whey, whole or skim milk, kitchen waste, various vegetables and fruits. In winter, hay, hay dust, silage are added to the diet..
From the age of three months, pigs are given concentrated feed containing bone and fish meal. Boiled potatoes, beets, carrots are useful from vegetables. By 4 months, piglets should eat all types of feed.
Young growth grows slower than others – they gain weight suitable for slaughter only by one and a half years. The meat of karmal pigs is highly valued. The amount of fat is small and is located in thin layers. The yield of pure meat from each carcass is at least 85%. This is a very good indicator for pork..
The greasiness of the carcass is highly dependent on the presence of vegetables and herbs in the diet, provided free range. Pigs raised in a close pen will have a higher percentage of fat in meat.
Karmal pig farmers believe that caring for them does not require special knowledge and high costs. The pigs are calm, non-aggressive and have a good appetite. Animals spend most of their time outdoors, which reduces cleaning costs.
If you have your own vegetables and pasture, the costs of feeding pigs are low, so the business is considered quite profitable.
According to the owners of the pocket, this breed is too overpriced. Among the shortcomings, pig breeders noted poor weight gain with excellent nutrition and digestive problems after the introduction of crushed cereals into the diet. In general, the Karmala pig breed is interesting, promising, the meat quality is excellent..