Raising, feeding and fattening hogs on potale, a business pursued and highly spoken of, but from my experience I have discovered that few good pigs can be raised entirely on potale—as it has a tendency to gripe and scour too much; but after they are weaned and a little used with slop, they will thrive well.[Pg 130]
If a hog in a cold morning comes running to a trough full of slop, that is almost boiling, and is very hungry—their nature is so gluttonous & voracious, that it will take several mouthfuls before it feels the effects of the heat, and endangers the scalding of the mouth, throat and entrails—and which may be followed by mortification and death;—moreover, hot feeding is the cause of so many deaths, and ill-looking unhealthy pigs, about some distilleries—which inconvenience might be avoided by taking care to feed or fill the troughs before the boiling slop is let out from the still.
A distiller cannot be too careful of his hogs—as with care, they will be found the most productive stock he can raise—and without care unproductive.
The offals of distilleries and mills cannot be more advantageously appropriated than in raising of hogs—they are prolific, arrive at maturity in a short period, always in demand. Pork generally sells for more than beef, and the lard commands a higher price than tallow; of the value of pork and every part of this animal, it is unnecessary for me to enter into detail; of their great value and utility, almost every person is well acquainted.[Pg 131]
The hog pens and troughs ought to be kept clean and in good order, the still slop salted two or three times a week; when fattening, hogs should be kept in a close pen, and in the summer a place provided to wallow in water.
Hogs that are fed on potale, ought not to lie out at night, as dew, rain and snow injures them—indeed such is their aversion to bad weather, that when it comes on, or only a heavy shower of rain, away they run, full speed, each endeavoring to be foremost, all continually crying out, until they reach their stye or place of shelter.
At the age of nine months, this animal copulates first, and frequently earlier, but it is better engendering should be prevented, till the age of eighteen months—for at an earlier age, the litter is uniformly small, and weakly, and frequently do not survive, besides the growth is injured. It is therefore better not to turn a sow to breeding, till from 18 to 24 months old.
The sow goes four months with pig, and yields her litter at the commencement of the fifth; soon after encourages and receives the boar, and thus produces two litters in the year. I have known an instance[Pg 132] of three litters having been produced in the year from one female.
A sow ought not to be permitted to suckle her pigs more than two or three weeks, after which eight or nine only should be left with her, the rest sold, or sent to market, or killed for use—at the age of three weeks they are fit for eating, if the sow is well fed. A few sows will serve, and those kept for breeding, well selected from the litter, the residue, cut and splayed. Care and pains is due in the choice of the breed of hogs—the breeder had then better procure good ones, and of a good race at once, tho' the expense and trouble may seem material in the outset, yet the keeping will be the same, and the produce perhaps fifty per cent more.
After the pigs are weaned, they ought to be fed for the first two weeks on milk, water and bran, after which potale may be used in the room of milk. I would recommend a little mixed potale from an early period, and increase it, so as to render them accustomed to the slop gradually.
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