Richard Lamb Allen.

A Brief compend of American agriculture online

. (page 42 of 44)
Online LibraryRichard Lamb AllenA Brief compend of American agriculture → online text (page 42 of 44)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


in the introduction and perpetuity of any distinct races, so
much as in the breeding up to a desirable size and aptitude
for fattening, from such meritorious individuals of any breed
or their crosses, as come within their reach. The Byejield
some 30 years ago, was a valuable hog in the Eastern states,
and did much good among the species generally. They are
white, with fine curly hair, well made and compact, moderate
in size and length, with broad backs, and at 15 months, attain-
ing some 300 to 350 Ibs. nett. The Bedford or Woburn is a
breed originating with the Duke of Bedford, on his estate at
Woburn, and brought to their perfection probably, by judicious
crosses of the China hog, on some of the best English swine.
A pair was sent by the Duke to this country, as a present to
Gen. Washington, but they were dishonestly sold by the mes-
senger in Maryland, in which state and Pennsylvania, they
were productive of much good at an early day, by their exten-
sive distribution through different states. Several other
importations of this breed have been made at various times,
and especially by the spirited masters of the Liverpool packet
ships, in the neighborhood of New-York. They are a large,
spotted animal, well made and inclining to early maturity and
fattening. They are an exceedingly valuable hog, but are



412 AMERICAN AGRICULTURE.

nearly extinct both in England and this country, as a breed.
The Leicesters are a large, white hog, generally coarse in the
bone and hair, great eaters and slow in maturing. Some
varieties of this breed, differ essentially in these particulars,
and mature early on a moderate amount of food. The crosses
with smaller compact breeds, are generally thrifty, desirable
animals. Other large breeds deserving commendation in this
country, are the large Miami white, the Yorkshire while and
the Kenilworth, each frequently attaining when dressed, a
weight of 600 to 800 Ibs. The Chinese is among the smaller
varieties, and without doubt, is the parent stock of the best
European and American swine. They necessarily vary in
appearance, size, shape and color, from the diversity in the
style of breeding, and the various regions from which they
are derived. But all the Chinese seem to have these proper-
ties in common. They are fine-boned, short and very com-
pact, with bellies almost touching the ground, light head and
ears, fine muzzle, of great docility and quietness, small feeders
and producing much meat for the quantity of food consumed.
From the rapidity with which generations of this animal are
multiplied, the variety of other breeds on which they are
crossed, and the treatment to which they are subjected, it is
not surprising that their descendants should rapidly assume
distinct features. From these, we have not only a strong
mixture of blood in the best class of large breeds, but in such
of the smaller as have any pretensions to merit, they consti-
tute the greater part of the improvement. Such are the Nea-
politan, the Essex half-black, the Grass breed and some
others.

The Berkshires are an ancient English breed, formerly of
large size, slow feeders, and late in maturing. Their color
was a buff or sandy ground with large black spots, and the
feet, lower part of the legs and tuft on the tail, buff. The
latter color has given place, in most of the modern race, to
white in the same pails. This variation, with the more
important ones of early maturity and good feeding properties,
are by Professor Low, ascribed to a Chinese cross, which
has added the only characteristic in which they were before
deficient. They were first introduced and reared as a dis-
tinct breed in this country, by Mr. Rrentnall, of Orange Co.,
and Mr. Hawcs, of Albany, N. Y. In their hands, and
those of other skillful breeders, their merits were widely
promulgated. No other breeds have been so extensively
diffused in the United States, within comparatively so brief



SWINE. 413

a period, as the Berkshires, since 1832. They have produced
a marked improvement in many of our former races. They
weigh variously, from 250 to 400 Ibs. nett, at 16 months,
according to their food, and style of breeding; and some full-
grown have dressed to more than 800 Ibs. They particu-
larly excel in their hams, which are round, full and heavy,
and contain a large proportion of lean, tender and juicy meat
of the best flavor. None of our improved breeds afford
long, coarse hair or bristles; and it is a gratifying evidence
of our decided improvements in this department of domestic
animals, that our brush-makers are under the necessity of
importing most of what they use from Russia and Northern
Europe. This improvement is manifest not only in the hair
but in the skin, which is soft and mellow to the touch; in the
iiner bones, shorter head, with upright ears, dishing face,
delicate muzzle and mild eye; and in the short legs, low
flanks, deep and wide chest, broad back and early maturity.
BREEDING. Swine should not be allowed to breed before
12 or 15 months old, unless the animals are large and coarse,
when they may be put to it somewhat younger. Not only
choice individuals, but such as are well descended, should
be selected for the purpose of breeding. The sow should be
in good condition, but not fat, nor approaching to it, and a
proper degree of exercise is essential to the development of
the foetus and the health of the parent; for which reason she
should have an extended range connected with her pen.
The sow goes with young about 114 days. A week before
her time comes round, a comfortable, quiet place should be
prepared for her under cover, and well protected from cold,
if the weather be severe, or if warm, a range in a pasture
with an open shed to retire to, is sufficient. Too much
litter for bedding must be avoided, and no change or dis-
turbance of the sow permitted till two or three weeks after
pigging, as the restlessness thereby produced may result in
the loss of the pigs. The sow should be fed only with a
small quantity of the lightest food or thin gruel, for two or
three days, nor put on full feed for a week. If inclined to
eat her pigs, she should be fed two or three times with raw
pork or fresh meat. The pigs may be taught to crack oats
or soaked corn after three weeks, and if provided with a
trough inaccessible to the dam, they will soon learn to feed
on milk and other food, preparatory to weaning. This may
take place when they are 8 or 10 weeks old, and to prevent
injury to the sow, let one or two remain with her a few days



414 AMERICAN AGRirtTLTURF.

longer, and when finally removed, if her bag appears to be
full, they may be allowed to drain the milk after 20 or 30
hours. The sow should be restricted to a light, dry diet for
a few days.

RAISING, FEEDING AND FATTENING. There are but two
objects in keeping swine, for breeding, and for slaughter,
and their management is consequently simple. Those
designed for breeding should be kept in growing condition,
on light food, and have every advantage for exercise. Such
as are destined exclusively for fattening, ought to be steadily
kept to the object. It is the usual practice in this country,
to let spring pigs run at large for the first 15 months, with
such food as is convenient, and if fed at all, it is only to keep
them in moderate growth till the second autumn. They are
then put up to fatten, and in the course of 60 or 90 days, are
fed off and slaughtered. During this brief period, they gain
from 50 to 100 per cent, more of dressed weight, than in the
15 or 18 months preceding; nor even then do they yield a
greater average weight, than is often attained by choice,
thrifty pigs, which have been well fed from weaning to the
age of 7 or 8 months. Three pigs of the Bedford breed,
when precisely 7 months old, dressed 230, 235 and 239}
Ibs. Two of the Berkshire and Leicester breeds, at 9
months, dressed 304 and 310 Ibs. Three others of the Berk-
shire and Grass breeds, 7 months and 27 days old, weighed
240, 250 and 257 Ibs. nett. Innumerable instances could be
adduced of similar weights, gained within the same time,
with a good breed of animals under judicious treatment.
We have no one accurate account of the food consumed, so
as to determine the relative profit of short or long feeding.
But that an animal must consume much more in 18 or 20
months to produce the same quantity of dressed meat, which
is made by others of 7 or 8 months, does not admit of a doubt.
We have seen that an ox requires but little more than double
the quantity of food to fatten, that is necessary for supporting
existence. If \v< 1 apply this principle to swine, and state the
quantity of food which will fatten the pig rapidly, to be three
times as great as for the support of life, we shall find that
the pig will fatten in 7 months, on the same food he would
consume to keep him alive for 21. This is based on the
supposition that both animals are of equal size. But the pig
that matures and is slaughtered at 7 months, has only a
moderate capacity for eating. During the early stages of
his growth, his size and the consequent incapacity of the



SWINE. 415

digestive organs, prevent the consumption of the same quan-
tity which the larger animal requires; and his accumulating
fat, his limited respiration, consequent upon the compression
of his lungs, and his indisposition to exercise, all conspire to
keep the consumption of food within the smallest possible
limit. This result, in tho absence of any experiment, must
be conjectural entirely; but we believe that experiments will
show that of two thrifty pigs from the same litter, one of which
is properly fed to his utmost capacity for 7 months, and (lie
other fed with precisely double the quantity of similar food for
'21 months, the first will yield men! carcass and of a better
and more profitable quality than the latter, which has con-
sumed 100 per cent, the most. The food is only one item
in this calculation. The oldest requires the most attention,
is liable to more accidents and disease, besides the loss of
interest. We are necessarily forced to the conclusion, that
by far the cheapest mode of wintering pigs is in the pork-
barrel. We can readily anticipate one objection to this
practice, which is the want of food at this season of the year
to fatten them. This can be obviated by reserving enough
of the previous year's grain, to keep the animal in a rapidly
thriving state till the next crop matures sufficiently to feed.

In the rich corn regions, on its beginning to ripen, as it
does in August, the fields are fenced off into suitable lots, and
large herds are successively turned into them, to consume the
grain at their leisure. They waste nothing except the stalks,
which, in that region of plenty, are not considered of much
value, and they are useful as manure for succeeding crops,
and whatever grain is left by them, -leaner droves which
follow, will readily glean. Peas, early buckwheat, and
apples, may be fed on the ground in the same way. But we
believe there is an improvement in the character of the
grain from a few months' keeping, which is fully equivalent
to the interest of the money and cost of storage. If fatten-
ed early in the season, they will consume less food to make
an equal amount of flesh that in colder weather, they will
require less attention, and generally early pork will command
the highest price in market.

It is most economical to provide the swine with a fine
clover pasture to run in during the spring and summer, and
they ought also to have access to the orchard, to pick up all
the unripe and superfluous fruit that falls. They should also
have the wash of the house and the dairy, to which add meal,
and sour in large tubs or barrels. Not less than one-third,



416 AMERICAN AGRICULTURE.

and perhaps more, of the whole grain fed to swine, is saved
by grinding and cooking or souring. Yet care must be
observed that the souring be not carried so far as to injure
the food by putrefaction. A mixture of meal and water,
with the addition of yeast or such remains of a former
fermentation, as adhere to the side or bottom of the vessel,
and exposure to a temperature between 68 and 77 will
produce immediate fermentation. In this process there are
live stages. The saccharine, by which the starch and gum
are converted into sugar; the vinous, which changes the sugar
into alcohol; the mucilaginous, sometimes taking the place
of the vinous, and occurs when the sugar solution, or fer-
menting principle is weak, producing a slimy, glutinous pro-
duct; the acetic, forming vinegar, and the putrefactive, which
destroys all the nutritive principles and converts them into a
poison. The precise point in fermentation when the food
becomes most profitable for feeding, has not yet been satis-
factorily determined; but that it should stop short of the
putrefactive, and probably the acetic, is certain.

The roots for fattening animals ought to be washed and
steamed or boiled, and when not intended to be fermented,
the meal ought always to be scalded with the hot roots. Such
a quantity of salt as will not scour, may be added to every
preparation for swine. Potatos are the best roots tor swine;
then parsneps, orange er red carrots, white or Belgian, sugar
beets, mangold wurzel, ruta-bagas, and the white turnips, in
the order mentioned. The nutritive properties of turneps
are diffused through so large a bulk, that we doubt if they
can ever be fed to fattening swine with advantage; and they
will barely sustain life when fed to them uncooked. There
is a great loss in feeding roots to fattening swine, without
cooking. When unprepared grain is fed, it should be on a full
stomach, to prevent imperfect mastication, and the consequent
loss of food. It is better indeed to have it always before
them. The animal machine is an expensive one to keep in
motion, and it should be the object of the farmer, to put his
food in the most available condition, for its immediate con-
version into fat and muscle. Swine ought to be kept per-
fectly dry and clean, and provided with a warm shelter, to
which they can retire at pleasure. This will greatly hasten
the fattening and economize the food. A hog ought to have
three apartments, one each for sleeping, eating, and evacua-
tions, of which the last ought to occupy the lowest, and the
first the highest level, so that nothing shall be drained, and



SWINE. 417

as little carried into the first two as possible. They must
be regularly fed three times a day, and if there is a surplus,
it must be removed at once. If they are closely confined in
pens, give them as much charcoal twice a week as they will
eat. This corrects any tendency to disorders of the stomach.
Rotten wood is an imperfect substitute for charcoal. Graves,
scraps or cracklings, as they are variously calle;!, the residuum
of rough lard or tallow after expressing the fat, are a good
change and an economical food. Some animal food, although
not essential, is always acceptable to swine. When about
to finish them off, many feed for a few weeks on hard corn.
This is proper when slops or indifferent food has been
given, and meal cannot be conveniently procured; but when
fattened on sound roots and meal, it is a wasteful practice, ;is
the animal thus falls behind his accustomed growth. It is
better to give him an occasional feed of the raw grain, for a
change, and to sharpen his appetite.

The products furnished by the carcass of swine are numer-
ous. Every part of the animal is used for food, and it admits
of a far greater variety of preparation for the table, than any
other flesh. From the remotest antiquity to the present
time, and in every grade of barbarous and civilized life, it
has been esteemed as one of the choicest delicacies of the
epicure. Lard oil has within a few years, given to pork M
new and profitable use, by which the value of the carcass is
greatly increased. At some of the large pork-packing
depots of the west, one-third of the whole quantity has been
thus disposed of. This has withdrawn a large amount of
pork from the market, and prevented the depression which
must otherwise have occurred. Where the oil is required,
the whole carcass, after taking out the hams and shoulders,
is placed in a tub having two bottoms, the upper one perfo-
rated with holes, on which the pork is laid, and then tightly
covered. Steam at a high temperature is then admitted into
the tub, and in a short time, all the fat is extracted and falls
upon the lower bottom. The remaining mass, is bones and
scraps. The last is fed to pigs, poultry or dogs, or affords
the best kind of manure. The bones are either used for
manure, or are converted into animal charcoal, worth about
three cents per lb., which is valuable for various purposes in
the arts. When the object is to obtain lard of a fine qua-
lity, the animal is first skinned, and the adhering fat care-
fully scraped off. The oily, viscid matter of the skin is thus
avoided. When tanned, the skin makes a valuable leather,
R*



418 AMERICAN AGRICULTURE.

An aggregate weight of 1790 Ibs. from four well-fattened
animals, after taking out the hams and shoulders, say about
400 Ibs., gave within a fraction of 1200 Ibs. of the best lard.

Stearine and Oleine. Lard and all fatty matters consist of
three principles, of which stearine contains the stearic and
margaric acids, both of which when separated, are solid and
used as inferior substitutes for wax or spermaceti candles.
The other, oleine, is fluid at a low temperature, and in Ameri-
can commerce, is known as lard oil. It is very pure and
extensively used for machinery, lamps and most of the pur-
poses for which olive or spermaceti oils are used.

Curing Jiams and pork. After dressing, the carcass should
be allowed to hang till perfectly drained and cool, when it may
be cut up and salted. The usual way is to pack the pork in clean
salt, adding brine to the barrel when filled. But it may be
dry salted, by rubbing it in thoroughly on every side of each
piece, with a strong leather rubber, firmly secured to the
palm of the right hand. The pieces are then thrown into
heaps and sprinkled with salt, and occasionally turned till
cured ; or it may at once be packed in dry casks, which are
occasionally rolled to bring the salt into contact with every
part. Hams and shoulders may be cured in the same man-
ner, either dry or in pickle, but with differently arranged
materials. The following is a good pickle for 200 Ibs. Take
14 Ibs. of Turk Island salt ; i Ib. of salt petre ; 2 qts. of
molasses, or 4 Ibs. of brown sugar, with water enough to dis-
solve them. Bring the liquor to the scalding point, and skim
off all the impurities which rise to the top. When cold,
pour it upon the ham, which should be perfectly cool but not
frozen, and closely packed ; and if not sufficient to cover it,
add enough pure water for this purpose. Some extensive
packers in Cincinnati and elsewhere, who send choice hams
to market, add pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmegs or mace
and cloves. The. hams may remain six to eight weeks in
this pickle, then hungup in the smoke-house, with the small
(Mid down, and smoked from 10 to 20 days, according to the
quantity of smoke. The fire should not be near enough to
heat the hams. In Holland and Westphalia, the fire is nuidc
in the cellar, and the smoke carred by a fine into a cool dry
chamber. This is undoubtedly the best method of smoking.
The hams should at all times be dry and cool, or their flavor
will suffer. Green sugar-maple chips, are best for smoke ;
next to them are hickory, sweet birch, corn robs, white ash,
or beech. The smoke house is the best plnce (o keep hams



SWIXE. 419

till wanted. 1C removed, they should bo kept cool, dry and
free from flies. A canvass cover for each, saturated with
lime, which may be put on with a while. wash brush, is a per-
fect protection against Hies. When not to be kept long, they
may be parked in dry salt, or even in sweet brine without
injury. .V common method is to pack in dry oats, baked
saw-dust, &c.

DISEASES OF SWINE.

Mortifying as the fart may be to human pride, it is never-
theless certain, that the internal arragements, the viscera,
digestive organs, omniverous propensities, and the general
physiological structure of the hog and the bear, more nearly
resemble man, than any other animal. Many of their dis-
eases may therefore be expected to be a modification of those
of the human species, and require a similar treatment.
Swine are parculiarly liable to colds, coughs and pulmonary
affections; to cutaneous disorders, and that other frequently
fatal human disease, the measles. Like most other evils,
prevention of disease in swine, is more easy and economical
than cure. A dry warm bed, free from winds or storms, and
suitable food, will most effectually prevent any injuries, or
fatal attacks. The hog has little external covering to protect
him against cold. Nature has provided this immediately
within the skin, in the deep layer of fat, which surrounds the
full, plump hog. Fat is one of the best non-conductors of heat,
and the pig which is well fed, bids defiance to the intense cold,
which would produce great suffering and consequent disease,
in the ill conditioned animal. By the observance of a proper
medium between too much fat or lean, for the store or breed-
ing swine, and providing them with comfortable beds and pro-
per feed, almost all diseases will be avoided.

FOR COUGHS AND INFLAMATION OP THE LUNGS, bleeding

should immediately be resorted to, after which give gentle
purges of castor oil, or Epsom salts ; and this should be
followed with a dose of antimonial powders ; 2 grains, mixed
with half a dracham of nitre.

FOR COSTIVEXESS or loss of appetite, sulpher is an excellent
remedy, given in a light mess.

ITCH may be cured by anointing with equal parts of lard
and brimstone. Rubbing posts, and a running stream to
wallow in are preventives.

THE KIDNEY WORM is frequently fatal, and always pro-
duces weakness of the loins and hind legs, and generally,



420 AMERICAN AGRICULTURE.

entire prostration. A pig thus far gone, is hardly worth the
trouble of recovering, even where practicable. Preventives
are general thrift, a range, in a good pasture, and a dose of
half a pint of wood ashes every week or fortnight in their
food. A small quantity of salt petre, spirits of turpentine, or
tar will affect the same object. When attacked, apply spirits
of turpentine to the loins, and administer calomel carefully ;
or give half a table spoonful of copperas daily for one or two
weeks.

BLIND STAGGERS, generally confined to pigs, manifests
itself in foaming at the mouth, rearing on their hind legs,
champing and grinding their teeth and apparent blindness.
The proper remedies are bleeding and purging freely, and
these frequently fail. Many nostrums have been suggested,
but few are of any utility. It is important to keep the issues
on the inside of the fore legs, just below the knee, thoroughly
cleansed. The most convenient mode of bleeding, is from an
artery just above the knee, on the inside of the fore-arm.
It may be drawn more copiously from the roof of the mouth.
The flow of blood may usually be stopped, by applying a sponge
or cloth with cold water.

The diseases of swine, though not numerous, are formida-
ble, and many of them soon become fatal. They have not
been the subject of particlar scientific study, and most of the
remedies applied, are rather the result of casual or hap-hazard
suggestion, than of well-digested inference, from long contin-
ued and accurate observation.



POUTRY. 421



CHAPTER XXI.



POULTRY.

Choice varieties of fowls, add a pleasant feature to the
farm premises. They engage the attention and sympathy of
the juvenile farmers, and the time bestowed in the poultry
yard, keeps them from mischief, is an agreeable and salutary
relief for toil and study, and elicits the taste, the judgment,
and the kindlier feelings of humanity, which are to be ma-
tured in the future accomplished breeder. When properly
managed, poultry are a source of considerable profit, yielding
more forthe food they consume, than any other stock, although
their value is not often considered. The agricultural statis-
tics of the United States, for 1839, give us over $12,000,000
in poultry, and it probably exceeds $15,000,000 at the present
time. It is estimated by McQueen, that the poultry of En-
gland exceeds $40,000,000, and yet McCulloch says, she
imports 60,000,000 eggs annually from France, McQueen
states it at near 70,000,000 ; and from other parts of the



Online LibraryRichard Lamb AllenA Brief compend of American agriculture → online text (page 42 of 44)