The wild boar is a native of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The wild hogs are
the parents from which all our domestic breeds have sprung. In many
parts of the world the wild boar is still found. These animals are
active and powerful, and as they grow older are fierce and dangerous. In
their wild state they seek moist, sandy, and well-wooded places, close
to streams of water. Their favorite foods are fruits, grass, and roots,
but when pressed by hunger they will eat snakes, worms, and even higher
animals, like birds, fowls, and fish.
Man captured some of these wild animals, fed them abundant and
nutritious food, accustomed them to domestic life, selected the best of
them to raise from, and in the course of generations developed our
present breeds of hogs. The main changes brought about in hogs were
these: the legs became shorter, the snout and neck likewise shortened,
the shoulders and hams increased their power to take on flesh, and the
frame was strengthened to carry the added burden of flesh. As the animal
grew heavier it roamed less widely, and as it grew accustomed to man its
temper became less fierce.
Meat can be more cheaply obtained from hogs than from any other animal.
When a hog is properly fed and cared for it will make the farmer more
money in proportion to cost than any other animal on the farm.
The most profitable type of hog has short legs, small bones, straight
back and under line, heavy hams, small well-dished head, and heavy
shoulders. The scrub and "razorback" hogs are very unprofitable, and
require an undue amount of food to produce a pound of gain. It requires
two years to get the scrub to weigh what a well-bred pig will weigh
when nine months old. Scrub hogs can be quickly changed in form and type
by the use of a pure-bred sire.
A boy whose parents were too poor to send him to college once decided to
make his own money and get an education. He bought a sow and began to
raise pigs. He earned the food for the mother and her pigs. His hogs
increased so rapidly that he had to work hard to keep them in food. By
saving the money he received from the sale of his hogs he had enough to
keep him two years in college. Suppose you try his plan, and let the hog
show you how fast it can make money.
We have several breeds of swine. The important ones are:
I. _Large Breeds_
1. Chester White.
2. Improved Yorkshire.
II. _Medium Breeds_
III. _Small Breeds_
4. Small Yorkshire.
Hogs will be most successfully raised when kept as little as possible in
pens. They like the fields and the pasture grass, the open air and the
sunshine. Almost any kind of food can be given them. Unlike other stock,
they will devour greedily and tirelessly the richest feeding-stuffs.
The most desirable hog to raise is one that will produce a more or less
even mixture of fat and lean. Where only corn is fed, the body becomes
very fat and is not so desirable for food as when middlings, tankage,
cowpeas, or soy beans are added as a part of the ration.
When hogs are kept in pens, cleanliness is most important, for only by
cleanliness can disease be avoided.
Next: Farm Poultry