'Very friendly' Guinea hogs act like dogs
After retirement, former educator of 33 years Cathy Payne and her husband bought land in Elbert County and moved to start a farm, an idea that came to Cathy as she was looking for a new project to work on during her retirement.
That project soon turned into an opportunity for Cathy to become an author and publish her first book titled “Saving the Guinea Hogs: The Recovery of an American Homestead Breed” which Cathy describes as “the story of a rare hog and the conservationists who saved it from extinction.”
“We bought the land in Elbert County after we became interested in growing our own food and farming, but after my husband started his locksmith business (LockPro) the project became mine,” Cathy said.
Soon after, Cathy began raising what are described as “heritage breeds” (livestock breeds raised by America’s forefathers) such as Gulf Coast Sheep, American Blue meat rabbits, Beveren rabbits and Silver Fox rabbits in addition to heritage poultry including Khaki Campbell Ducks, Dominique Hens, Autrolorps and Barred Rock Hens.
In the process of looking for a breed of hog to farm, Cathy decided on the Guinea hogs as they are much smaller in the range of 250 to 300 pounds and require less land than larger breeds of hogs.
Cathy describes them as “very friendly” and “a great homestead hog” but says that when she started doing research about the breed, she couldn’t find any information. “I soon realized that if I wanted to read a book about them I would have to write it first.”
In 2013 she started collecting information and interviewing people who raised the hogs, and she continued to collect information from her sources until 2019 — just a few short months before she published her first book.
According to Cathy, the hogs date back to the Civil War Era.