Yorkshire farmer who appeared on The Hairy Bikers and had last bloodline of rare Mangalitza pig saves breed from extinction

A former hairdresser who ended up as the last owner of pigs from an almost-extinct bloodline of a rare breed has helped to save it from extinction.

Lisa Hodgson rose to national attention when she and her Mangalitza pigs - a Hungarian breed known for their hardiness - appeared on The Hairy Bikers Go North in 2021.

Dave Myers and Si King were delighted by the hairy pigs - then the only ones remaining in the Delight line of sows in the UK - when they visited her farm near Helmsley.

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She teamed up with three other breeders in a last-ditch attempt to save the Mangalitza from dying out in this country, and The Times today reported their project's success.

Tim Otterburn and Lisa Hodgson with their Mangalitza pigs

The foursome's 'great Manga move' began in 2020, when numbers had dropped to as low as 15 pigs and just the four farmers remained.

Ms Hodgson was concerned that as the only Delight sow owner, if disease killed her pig, it would wipe out the bloodline for good.

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They met up in Somerset, swapped livestock to introduce genetic diversity and arranged to import new animals from Europe to produce five new bloodlines.

There are now 50 new litters across the country, including in Yorkshire.

The meat, though difficult to rear, is highly sought-after by chefs, including Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing.

Ms Hodgson started her Otterburn Mangalitza herd at Low Farm, Carlton, 10 years ago following a visit to Beamish Museum where she and her husband, Tim Otterburn, first saw what at a distance they mistook for sheep.

Her husband had resisted her calls for animals on the 210-acre arable farm as he had come out of cattle and sheep.

Ms Hodgson is a miner's daughter from County Durham who had no farming experience before she met her husband, who eventually agreed to the Mangalitzas on the condition that they paid their way and were not 'pets'.

The herd has 130 pigs overall, with 22 sows and five breeding boars, and she supplies high-end restaurants and top chefs.