Mangalitsa

Mangalitsa is an unusual breed of domestic pigs. These animals are characterized by a non-standard appearance, since they are covered from head to toe with curly hair. Mangalits were bred as meat animals, which mainly give a lot of fat. But because of this appearance, mangalitsy even began to take the place of pets among lovers of unusual animals.

The origin of the species and description

Photo: Mangalitsa

Photo: Mangalitsa

Mangalica is a domestic pig breed originally from Hungary. The breed was bred back in the 19th century by crossing Hungarian pigs from Salonta and Bakony, with an admixture of European wild boars and Shumadi pigs. , such as the Lincolnshire curly-haired pig, which used to live in England.

Video: Mangalitsa

Like all domesticated pigs, bred by crossing, mangalitsa has a number of features that are unique to this category of pigs. The body length of domestic pigs, as a rule, varies greatly: from a meter to two, and adult fattened individuals can weigh up to 150 kg.

Unlike their wild ancestors, domestic pigs are omnivores. Wild boars fed mainly on plant foods, while domesticated pigs are trained to eat a variety of foods, including those of animal origin. Even feral domestic pigs continue to be omnivores. Mangalitsa is no exception – she also eats a variety of foods.

Domestic pigs were bred as meat breeds: these animals gain weight easily and are loyal to people, which makes them good pets for keeping. Mangalits are also bred as meat breeds, but sometimes they also take the place of decorative pigs. Most often, minipigs are considered decorative pigs – small breeds that are kept at home, like dogs or cats.

Appearance and features

Photo: What a mangalica looks like

Photo: What a mangalica looks like

Mangalits are adapted to harsh living conditions – this breed was bred for farmers who cannot always provide their animals with a warm place to live. In summer, the pig is completely covered with small rings of soft wool, although pigs usually have very coarse bristles that do not completely cover them. In winter, these wool rings grow, forming a dense thick undercoat, which is not inferior in thermal insulation to sheep's wool. From afar, mangalics can even be confused with sheep.

Interesting fact: Pigs that are started as pets lose their hair over time as it is no longer needed. Such wool is needed solely to protect the mangalica from the cold and insects.

Mangalicas have four standard colors:

  • brown;
  • white;
  • black;
  • mixed.

At the same time, black and brown mangalits disappeared not so long ago, so breeders are busy breeding these pigs of these colors again. About 80 percent of mangalitas are mixed-colored, in which the back, head and ears are black, and the belly and legs are white.

Interesting fact: Like wild boars, mangalitz piglets are born striped , with a camouflage that changes with age.

Mangalits are animals that are strong in constitution, which at the same time do not differ in particularly large sizes relative to many meat breeds of domestic pigs. Adult males reach a weight of three hundred kilograms, females usually weigh a little less. These pigs have a strong spine and a short, immobile neck. The ears are long, growing forward, closing the eyes. The profile is slightly curved, the nasal cartilage points upward.

Where does the mangalica live?

Photo: Mangalitsa Pig

Photo: Mangalitsa Pig

Mangalitsa is exclusively a domestic animal. At the moment, they are bred only on specialized farms, where animals are fattened in such a way as to give a lot of fat. Although many private breeders can purchase mangalica piglets for breeding on a small farm.

Mangalica is not very demanding on the conditions of detention, although there are a number of points that must be met in order for the mangalica to have the greatest potential. For example, mangalics need a large area where they can feed and walk. This is especially true for the spring-summer period, when the pig eats fresh greens.

Experts note that pigs of this breed must be mobile so that meat and lard have their own unique taste. Therefore, limiting the mangalitsa with a fence or a net is not the best option.

Interesting fact: In winter, these pigs can also be taken for a walk – they easily tolerate the cold.

Mangalits also need protection from direct sunlight, so a canopy should be organized at the walking place where the pig can rest. You can also place a small pond or a mud bath there.

In winter, a lot of hay should be put in the pen for the mangalitsa – pigs burrow into it with pleasure. The hay keeps them warm, and this is especially important on winter nights when temperatures can drop to very low levels.

What does a mangalica eat?

Photo: Mangalitsa, or sheep pig

Photo: Mangalitsa, or sheep pig

Mangalits are a breed of pigs that is primarily focused on building fat, however, some breeders can raise them as meat animals. The quality of meat and fat is affected by feed.

Total feed for pigs is divided into the following types:

  • growth-oriented, increasing body weight, granularity and fat density. Such feeds increase the palatability of meat. This includes mainly juicy vegetables such as pumpkin, zucchini, carrots, beets, as well as cottage cheese, millet, peas, barley and various greens (nettle, clover). Offal and flour are also added to such feeds;
  • mangalitsy are a kind of gourmets, so wheat bran, buckwheat and corn are added to their feed. This allows you to increase the appetite of pigs, which is why later weight gain is faster.

The breeders also note that the following crops negatively affect the quality of meat: soybeans, cake, oats. Because of this, the fat turns yellow, and the meat becomes flabby and loose. The shelf life of such meat is also significantly reduced.

Breeders do not feed the mangalics with food waste and unnecessary greens from the garden (such as beet tops or large cabbage leaves). This also negatively affects the quality of the bacon for which mangalicas are famous.

Character and lifestyle features

Photo: Hungarian mangalica

Photo: Hungarian Mangalica

Mangalits do not have distinctive character traits that would distinguish them from other domestic pigs. They are herd animals that feel comfortable in a team and are not aggressive towards people. They are docile animals that also display a quick wit often seen in dogs.

Domestic pigs, unlike their wild ancestors, spend most of their time in a passive state. The owners of domestic pigs develop a feeding regimen for animals, so the mangalics can only wait patiently for them to be fed again. In the wild, pigs spend the whole day looking for food, looking for it with the help of a sensitive scent.

Competent breeders organize a space for mangalitas where pigs can feed and walk on their own. As a rule, this is a small paddock, in which there is a lot of green grass, roots and small bushes that can be torn by mangalics.

In the wild, pigs live in small groups, in which, as a rule, there is a male leader who drives out the growing males from the herd. This pattern of behavior has been preserved in domestic pigs only in part: they have a leader, but he is tolerant of other young males and does not compete with them. In addition, females are often kept separately from inseminating boars.

In general, mangalics are friendly in nature. There is evidence that these and many other pigs can even be trained, learn to perform simple tricks and interact with humans with interest.

Social Structure and Reproduction

Photo: Mangalica Cub

Photo: Mangalica Cub

Because Mangalicas are pets , which are bred in a strict order, boars are kept separate from pigs, allowing only planned crossbreeding. Females reach reproductive age by nine months, and males by one year.

Pregnancy lasts up to 115 days. In general, sows bring up to twenty piglets per year. Mangalits are not very prolific pigs, so only the most efficient boars, which are pre-fed with vitamins, are selected for crossing.

After giving birth, the female undergoes a number of important rituals, on which the effectiveness of feeding the piglets will depend. She must smell the cubs, hear their voices, smell her own milk – then lactation will begin. In addition, piglets have to stimulate the sow in a special way to get milk.

Newborn piglets are fed every hour. On fat milk, they grow very quickly, gaining mass. Interestingly, a sow can regulate her milk supply by determining how hungry her piglets are.

Fun fact: Each piglet has a “own” nipple, from which only he drinks. His piglets are distinguished by their smell.

By the age of six months, piglets of mangalitsa reach a weight of 100 kilograms, which is relatively small compared to pigs of other meat breeds.

Natural enemies of mangalitsa

Photo: How the mangalica looks like

Photo: What the mangalica looks like

The conditions in which mangalitsy are kept exclude the appearance of natural enemies. These pigs are bred exclusively for human interests, therefore they do not serve as a food base for predators. Even at an early stage of the appearance of the Mangalitsa breed, they were well protected by people as valuable individuals. Domestic pigs were often attacked by wolves or even hungry bears, foxes or stray dogs could kill piglets. However, pigs are not helpless animals.

Due to their huge body weight and powerful jaws, they are able to repulse the attacker. Female mangalits who believe that something is threatening their piglets may immediately attack the offender. Mangalitsa are susceptible to many diseases that domestic pigs suffer from.

Among the most common diseases, the following should be highlighted:

  • distemper – pigs often suffer from it, the rarest breeds of pigs are especially susceptible;
  • erysipelas is more common in mangalitz piglets, although detecting this disease Interesting fact: In Hungary, mangalitz breeders receive a number of benefits and bonuses for further breeding of the breed. Gastroenteritis is a common disease among mangalitz. Piglets usually do not survive this disease. If an adult mangalica has suffered such a disease, then she will pass on strong immunity to her offspring.

Mangalits are most often kept in the hands of experienced breeders who regularly examine pigs for various diseases. As a valuable breed of pigs, Mangalits rarely get sick precisely because of the vigilance of their owners.

Population and species status

Photo: Mangalitsa

Photo: Mangalitsa

Previously, mangalitsy were under threat of extinction due to declining interest in this breed of pigs. Only by the end of the twentieth century, breeders appreciated the taste of lard and meat of mangalits, after which a program of active restoration of the breed began.

Today, the population of mangalits is stable. These pigs are bred all over the world mainly from experienced breeders, although almost anyone can buy a mangalica pig for further rearing. Their meat is highly valued in the restaurant business, so mangalicas remain one of the most sought-after meat breeds.

The greatest growth in the number of mangalits is observed in the UK and France, there are also large farms for breeding this breed in Russia and Ukraine. In Hungary, the place where mangalics were bred, these pigs are recognized as a national treasure.

Interesting fact: In Hungary, mangalica breeders receive a number of benefits and bonuses for further breeding of the breed.

The number of mangalic individuals in Russia alone is about 15 thousand. They are actively transported to different countries, where their breeding is mastered by new breeders. Mangalits, along with other domestic pigs, take part in competitions among breeds bred for meat and fat. Some people prefer to breed mangalitas not as meat animals, but as companions.

Mangalica is an amazing animal native to Hungary. Due to their unusual appearance and taste, they quickly spread around the world and gained popularity in various countries.

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