The five native breeds of livestock in Ibiza that must be protected

Since 2008 there has been the Pitiusa Federation of Indigenous Breeds (Fepira), which works to prevent the extinction of livestock of local varieties, as they are part of the cultural and gastronomic heritage of Ibiza and Formentera. It is made up of five breeders’ associations dedicated to the Ibizan sheep, goat, chicken, rabbit and pig, which are unique varieties of the archipelago and make up a culinary product of extraordinary quality, which links us with the island’s past.

The Ibizan pig, with black skin and distinctive features, is recovering from its virtual extinction, thanks to the conservation of a small population that still existed in Formentera at the beginning of this century. This variety of boar pig, which provided sausages, bacon and lean meat to households, is believed to have been introduced in the 17th or 18th centuries. He has been breeding again since 2008, crossing males with black Mallorcan females, who are genetically the most similar. Five farms (4 in Ibiza and 1 in Formentera) are dedicated to its breeding, with the aim of recovering this breed, which provides exquisite meat reminiscent of that of the Iberian pig.

The Ibizan sheep is an animal related to the sheep of the Western Mediterranean, although with very specific characteristics. It has been present in Ibizan homes for many years, providing meat and milk. Unfortunately, it is in serious danger of extinction due to the introduction during the last century of other more productive foreign breeds. It is a very rustic animal, perfectly adapted to the conditions of the island and highly resistant to diseases.

The Ibizan goat has been present on rural farms, often in mixed flocks with sheep. Historically, they have provided goats for consumption and milk for the production of cheeses, which are highly appreciated among the population. It is also a very resistant animal, which uses any vegetable within its reach for food. Its size is medium and its colouring is very changeable.

The Ibizan hen clearly differs from the rest of the Balearic varieties, showing an influence of the Atlantic trunk on the Mediterranean trunk, since they are heavier and with a smaller crest. It has been an essential element, providing meat and eggs to the Ibizan diet for centuries. The latter have a cream-coloured shell and weigh around 65 grams.

The peasant rabbit is the only native of the Balearic Islands. Its presence in houses is very old, where it has been able to survive. It is easy to maintain and the fertility of the mothers is high, favouring a production of high quality meat that has traditionally been destined for home consumption. They are medium-sized animals with a sturdy and rounded body.

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