PIG (a word of obscure origin, connected with the Low Ger. and Dut. word of the same meaning, bigge), a common name given to the domesticated swine of agricultural use. (For the zoology, see SWINE.)
British breeds of pigs are classified as black, white and red. In some places, notably Wales and Gloucester, a remnant of a spotted breed lingers; and a large proportion of common pigs, often parti-coloured, are mongrels. The white breeds are liable to sun-scald, and black pigs (like black men) are much better adapted than white to exposure in strong sunlight, conforming to the rule that animals in the tropics have black skins.
The Large Whiles may have in the skin a few blue spots which grow white hair. The head is long, light in the jowl, and wide between the eyes, with long thin ears inclined slightly forward and fringed with long fine hair. The neck is long, but not coarse, the ribs are deep, the loin wide and level, the tail set high, and the legs straight and set well outside the carcase. The whole body, including the back of the neck, is covered with straight silky hair, which denotes quality end lean meat. Pigs of this breed are very prolific, and they may be grown to enormous weights over 1 1 cwt. alive.
The Middle Whites are built on a smaller scale than the Large Whites. They are shorter in the heads and legs, and fuller at the jowl, thicker and more compact in the body. The sows are quite as prolific as those of the Large White breed, and, as their produce matures earlier, they are much in demand for breeding porkers.
The Small White pigs are beautifully proportioned. The head and legs are very short, and the body short, thick and wide; the jowl is heavy, the ears pricked, and the thin skin laden with long silky, wavy, but not curly, hair, whilst the tail is very fine. A deficiency of lean meat is a common characteristic of the breed, which is almost extinct.
The above three breeds were designated Yorkshire Whites, and are still so named at times. The Middle White, formed by crossing the large and the small breeds, is not so symmetrical as the parent stocks, and the type is not uniform.
The Lincolnshire Curly Coated or Boston pig is a local breed of great size and capacity for producing pork. It is very hardy and prolific, but somewhat coarse in the bone. It has an abundance of long curly hair, a short face and a straight nose, and the ears, not too long and heavy, fall over the face. It crosses well with the Large White, the Large Black and the Berkshire.
The Large Black breed, which vies with the Large White breed for size, and is probably its superior as a bacon pig, has only since 1900 received national show-yard recognition; but there is ample evidence that, with its characteristic whole black colour with a mealy hue, length, fine hair and lop ear, the Large Black existed in the south of England for generations. It has been continuously and carefully bred in Cornwall, Devon, Essex and Suffolk, and from these centres it has rapidly spread all over the country. Large Blacks are exceedingly docile, and the ears, hanging well forward over the eyes, contribute materially to a quietness of habit which renders them peculiarly adapted to field grazing. On account of their hardiness and disposition to early maturity they have proved valuable for crossing purposes. The Large Black Pig Society was incorporated in 1899.
The Berkshire is a black pig with a pinkish skin, and a little white on the nose, forehead, pasterns, and tip to the tail. It has a moderately short head with heavy jowl, a deep, compact carcase, and wide, low and well-developed hind-quarters, with heavy hams. The skin carries an abundance of fine hair. The Berkshire is an early-maturity breed which has been somewhat BERKSHIRE BOAR.
MIDDLE WHITE BOAR.
LARGE BLACK SOW.
ENGLISH BREEDS OF PIG, from photographs of F. Babbage. The comparative sizes of the animals are indicated by XXI. 594. the scale of reproduction of the photographs.
inbred, and is not so hardy and prolific as most breeds. The boars cross well with common stock. It merits the most credit in raising the quality of Irish pigs. In America it is in the front rank for numbers and quality as a lard-hog. There it often grows to be a larger and finer animal than it is in England.
The Small Black or Black Suffolk was produced from the old Essex pig by crossing with the Neapolitan. It resembles the Small White, except that the skin is coal-black in colour, and the coat of hair is not usually profuse. The Small Black, moreover, is rather longer, and stands somewhat higher, whilst it yields more lean meat than the Small White. It matures early and is quick to fatten.
The Tarn-worth is one of the oldest breeds of pigs. It is hardy, active and prolific, and nearly related to the wild boar. The colour is red or chestnut, with at times darkish spots on the skin. The head, body and legs are long, and the ribs deep and flat. Originally a local breed in the districts around the Staffordshire town from which it takes its name, it is now extensively bred, and highly valued as a bacon pig. (W. FR. ; R. W.)
In America nearly all the breeds may be classified as lardhogs. Bacon-pigs fed on Indian corn degenerate into lardhogs, run down in size and become too small in the bone and less prolific by inbreeding.
The Poland-China, the most popular breed in the United States, is thus degenerating. It is a black pig like the Berkshire, but has short lop-ears, a more pointed, straight nose, a more compact body, and more white markings. It is a breed of mixed blood, and is believed to have originated from the " Big China " pig a large white hog with sandy spots, taken to Ohio in 1816, and blended with Irish graziers in 1839, and with a breed known as Bayfields, as well as with Berkshires. In Iowa the Berkshire is a combined lard and bacon pig in high favour. The Duroc Jersey or Duroc, of a red or cherry-red colour not sandy or dark is the most popular pig in Nebraska and equal to any other in Iowa. It is a large prolific lard-hog, easily making 300 Ib in eight months. It has gained rapidly in popularity since the beginning of this century, and is spreading to other centres.
The Chester While, named from Chester county, Pennsylvania, is one of the four leading breeds of lard-hogs in America. It is of mixed origin and bears a strong family resemblance to the Lincolnshire curly-coated pig. The early English ancestors, the breed of which is not on record in America, were most probably of Lincoln origin. The sow is a prolific breeder and good mother, weighing, when mature but not fat, 450 Ib the boar averaging 600 Ib, and barrows at six to eight months 350 Ib. At Vermont Station, in a 127 days' test, Chester Whites made an average gain of 1-36 ft and dressed 84-5% carcase, and they can gain fully i ft of live weight for 3 Ib of grain consumed.
Management. The brood sow should be lengthy and of a prolific strain, known to milk well. She is moderately fed and put to a boar of her own age when large enough, i.e. seven to eight months old. She remains in a state of oestrum for about three days, and if not pregnant comes in heat again in three weeks. Breeding swine, male and female, run most of their time at pasture and receive a liberal allowance of green food or raw roots. The period of gestation is sixteen weeks. Six to eight pigs are reared of the first litter, and ten to twelve afterwards. Many brood sows are fattened to greatest profit after the second or third litter. Two litters are produced in one year, as pigs are usually weaned at two months old, and the sow will take the boar at from three days to a week after the pigs are removed, according to condition. A convenient sty to hold five or six pigs has a southern aspect, and consists of a covered compartment and outer court, each 10 ft. square. When the animals are fed outside the inner court is kept clean and dry, and there the pigs lie. The labouring man s pig is his bank, and is fed on scraps, small potatoes and waste products. In connexion with cheese dairies pigs are largely fed on sour whey thickened with mixed meal produced from any or all of the grains or pulses, the choice depending upon the market price. Food may with advantage be cooked for very young pigs; but, with the exception of potatoes, which should never be given raw, roots and meals are best given uncooked. Meal mixed with pulped roots for a few hours improves in digestibility, and a sprinkling of salt is an improvement. Meal derived from leguminous seeds makes the flesh firm and improves the quality. Fattening pigs are fed three times a day and supplied with coal-ashes or a few handfuls of earth. Of the fatted live weight of a pig 83 % is butcher's carcase, and 91 % of the increase from 100 to 200 Ib is carcase. i-Yom 3 to 5 Ib of meal consumed results in an increase of I Ib of ive weight in a pig, which is the most economical meat producer on a farm. Concentrated and digestible foods give best results, a pig has a small stomach. Fjord's Danish experiments show that 'or fattening pigs I Ib of rye- or barley-meal is equivalent to 6 Ib of skim-milk or 12 Ib of whey, and I tt> of meal equivalent to 8 Ib of mangolds or 4 Ib of potatoes.
LITERATURE. J. Coleman, Pigs of Great Britain (1877); Sanders Spencer, Pigs: Breeds and Management (1905); G. M. Rommel, The Hog Industry (1904; Bull. No. 47, U.S.A. Bureau of Animal Industry); J. Long, The Book of the Pig (1906); F. D. Coburn, Swine Husbandry (1904); R. Wallace, Farm Live Stock of Great Britain (4th ed., 1907); Douglas Encyclopaedia (1906); C. S. Plumb, Types and Breeds of Farm Animals (1906) the Herd Books of the Breed Societies, and Reports of the Agricultural Departments of Great Britain, Canada and the United States. (R. W.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)