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Pigs may be considered of primary importance to the farmer, and to every other householder, as to them the refuse of the fields, the dairy, and the kitchen, is a feast. Though that food should be gross and dirty, they will not reject it; and they are often reared in cold and filthy habitations; but it is only by order and cleanliness that successful feeding can be ensured. Where a large stock is kept, their feeding-house should be thirty feet by fifteen; it may be divided into four rooms the two in the middle to be adapted for eating, and the others for sleeping apartments; each should have an outside door, and also an inner communication, that the keeper may get their eating-rooms swept out, their mangers cleaned, and their food put in, while the pigs are at rest. Each of the above-mentioned eating and sleeping rooms, in case of being required for sows and young pigs, may be divided into two by partitions, made to remove at pleasure. The sleeping apartments ought to be dark; and the house, as also the square, or yard, formed by the huts or other buildings for sows, should be paved, and well littered; and water should be within reach of the pigs. The manger, or trough, must be always washed out before putting in their victuals; and that which remains in it after the pigs are satisfied, should be given to some of the young stock.

From the different varieties having become so much intermixed and blended together (this is especially the case in Scotland), it is difficult to describe any particular breed of swine. The Berkshire is allowed to be a good kind. They are generally of a brown, or rather a reddish colour, with black spots, the ears bending forward, but not hanging down so much as those of the large Cumberland kind; - they are short-legged and small-boned; their flesh is fine; and they are well disposed to fatten on common fare. The large spotted Woburn breed is well formed, prolific, hardy, and kindly disposed to fatten. The Chinese black, or pot-bellied breed, are small in size, their necks thick, and legs short. They are one of the most profitable sorts in this island, as their flesh is delicate, and they fatten on very indifferent food, and more readily than any other small breed; indeed they may be said to be always ready for killing. They are excellent for bacon, and are well adapted for being used as pork. When young, that is, when about four months old, they are very mischievous when not well ringed [The usual method of ringing swine is now superseded by an improved method adopted by Mr. Tubb, which is to pare off, with a sharp penknife, the gristle on the tops of the noses of young pigs.] And for those who do not like very fat pork, the small breeds before mentioned will be preferable, their flesh being equally delicate. There is another small breed, which is by far the best for the farmer, but it cannot be classified; they will feed in a shorter period, and will thrive upon articles that would starve the larger-sized animals. The kind in view will feed upon common fare, to seven or eight stones Amsterdam, when eleven or twelve months old, or to nine or ten stones when put up in the house to receive better food.

For a large establishment, a boar and two good sows, of a proper age, should constantly be kept; and one young sow annually reared, in order to supply the others, when they pass maturity, that is, when they arrive at three years of age. Their time of farrowing should be so arranged that they may produce two litters in the year one about March, and the other towards the beginning of August. A sow, when with young, ought not to be entirely confined to a hut, but allowed to walk about at pleasure in the swine-yard, or court belonging to the farm; nor should she be allowed to sleep with a number of swine. A sow goes with young 112 days, or sixteen weeks, not above a day over or under that time; a few hours previous to her farrowing, she will be observed carrying straws in her mouth, to make a bed with. When she is bringing forth her young, she ought not to have much litter or long straw in her apartment, nor for a few days after, lest the young pigs should be hid by it from their dam. She ought to be well fed when giving suck; if she is once allowed to get poor, it will take double the quantity of food and of time to restore her to her former state. If the pigs should be numerous, they, as also the sow, should be fed two or three times a day with milk, and wheat bran, or meal. Should the milk be scarce, a little water, slightly warm, may be mixed with it, taking care that the mixture be not too thick, that is, more of the nature of a drink than of anything else; and while the pigs are feeding on this, the sow should be turned out for an hour or two, that her milk may gather a little. She and her pigs should lie dry and warm. If they are well fed, the pigs will be ready for the spit in three weeks; and may be sold in six weeks. When the pigs are taken from the sow and weaned, whether with the breeder or purchaser, they must be regularly fed three times a day with a little wheat bran, barley dust, or meal of some description or other, mixed with water, made milk-warm; in a few weeks after, they may have some potatoes, turnips, or any kind of grain; and after the harvest is concluded, they may be allowed to range at large among the fields, to pick up any left corn, beans, or peas. Before going out in the morning, they may receive a feeding of offal grain; and in the evening, an allowance of yams or turnips. They may also get the refuse from the garden, kitchen, and dairy; milk and whey is the finest of all fattening. When the pigs are put up to close feeding, they should have three meals a day of potatoes, which have been strained, mixed with barley or any other meal, moistened with milk, whey, or water, and seasoned with a little salt; it should be given regularly, and only in such quantities as will be consumed with a relish. This will be found the best and most economical food; but where the trouble attending the preparation of it is considered too great, the next best method is to mix oats with barley, in the proportion of one part to four of barley, which will prevent the pigs from eating it too quickly; the oats being husky, require a longer time to be chewed. Buck-wheat is a quick and good fattening, somewhat similar to barley, not so good as peas; but peas are sometimes put amongst buck, for the same purpose that oats are mixed with barley. Pigs that are fed from the refuse of breweries are liable to eruptive diseases. Whenever grains are used for feeding, they should be fresh, and given in moderate quantities, and should only form a part of their diet; they will also feed well on the spent hops of the breweries. Sweet whey, unless given in very moderate quantities, is injurious to pigs; but when it becomes sourish, it proves very wholesome food. It is too general a practice to pay no attention to feeding pigs until they are put up, perhaps in November or December, when, with a little pains, they might be as fat, and weigh nearly as much, at the time they begin to feed, as at the period when they are fed, which may be about four or five weeks after they are put up. For pork, they are usually fattened from six to nine months old; for bacon and hams, from nine months to a year and a half.

Pigs are subject to inflammatory and eruptive diseases, both of which require bleeding, purgatives, and cool air in an open field. The most easy way of bleeding pigs is be cutting off the tail, or part of the ear.

Purgative powder for pigs, jalap one drachm. Should this be found insufficient, eleven or twelve grains of scamony may be added, or ten grains of calomel; but it is better to try the jalap alone first.

When pigs are to be made into bacon hams, they should be allowed to fast twenty-four hours before the time of killing, and in killing them great attention ought to be had to prevent the knife from striking against the bone at the bottom of the gullet, by which a morbid state of the flesh in the fore-quarter will be avoided. After the pig has been killed and dressed, it should hang up till the next day, when it must be sawn down the back bone from the tail to the point of the snout; then all the seam, or tallow should be removed, with the feet, tail, and ears, and such trifling pieces as may appear offensive to the eye. The side being laid upon a table, with the skin side uppermost, salt should be taken in indefinite quantities, and rubbed in well, particularly upon the shoulders and hams, for at least half an hour; the side weighing about six stones. In turning the side, four ounces of saltpetre, ground very fine, should be sprinkled very uniformly over the inside and ends of the shanks, above which ought to be laid a covering of salt, about an inch thick, over the whole inside, and gently clapped down by the hand into every crevice, but by no means rubbed in on that side. The side may then be placed upon boards, on a floor where no frost can affect it. If more than one side is cured, they may be laid one above another to any depth, provided the back and belly parts be laid alternately, and the skin side always downmost. The whole should be covered with a cloth, and some, though not a very heavy weight, put upon the top.

After lying in this state for ten days, they are to be taken up, and rubbed again upon the skin side with salt, for about a quarter of an hour, and covering again the inside with salt, without rubbing, and without any more saltpetre. After the second rubbing, the sides are again put into their former position, and allowed to remain there for another ten days, when they may be taken up, and wholly covered over with barley-meal, and hung up with cords by the shanks, which may be pierced with wooden pins to allow the cord a better hold, to the roof of the kitchen. After hanging there in the heat for two months, they may be hung up in any cool, but dry apartment. As the family requires them, the pieces may be cut out to any size that may be found most convenient.

From the middle of September to the middle of April is the proper curing season.

These approved directions for curing, are given here to make the chapter complete. Various other receipts on the subject will be found under the head of Pork.

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