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Care And Management Of Swine

( Originally Published 1912 )


Duroc Jersey swine, sometimes called Jersey Reds, Durocs, etc., really originated in New York State, but have been bred in Wisconsin for about thirty years. In 1883 a number of Wisconsin breeders of the so-called Red Hog, met at Elkhorn, Wis., and formed an organization, known as the Duroc or Jersey Red Swine Club, for the purpose of advancing the improvement of the breed, and using a registry of pedigrees.

The Duroc Jersey pig should be long, quite deep bodied, not round, but broad on the back, and holding the width well out to the hips and hams. The head should be small, compared with the body, with the cheek broad and full. and considerable breadth between the eyes. The neck should be short and thick, and the face slightly curved, with the nose rather longer than in the English breeds; the ears rather large and lopped over the eyes and not erect. Bone not fine, nor yet coarse, but medium. The legs medium in size and length, but set well under the body and well apart, and not cut up high in the flank or above the knee. The hams should be broad and full well down to the hock. There should be a good coat of hair of medium fineness, inclining to bristles at the top of the shoulder; the tail being hairy and not small; the hair usually straight, but in some cases a little wavy. The color should be red, varying from dark, glossy, cherry red, and even brownish hair, to light yellowish red, with occasionally a small fleck of black on the belly and legs. The darker shades of red are preferred by most breeders, and this type of color is the most desirable. In disposition they are remarkably mild and gentle. When full grown they should dress from four hundred to five hundred pounds, and pigs at nine months old should dress from two hundred and fifty to three hundred pounds.


No money can be made by selecting a half-wild breed of hogs, nor can success be achieved by selecting a good breed and starving the hogs or allowing them to shift for themselves. Hogs of the improved breeds are not so well able to take care of themselves as those of a half-wild breed, but when well cared for, will pay fifty per cent more profit than the other breed, for the grain fed. This is because they are more quiet and assimilate their food more perfectly.

However good the breed may be, care should be taken in the selecting or coupling of animals, otherwise degeneration of the offspring will result.

In the selection of stock for breeding, look first to the constitutional vigor. Without this, no matter what the beauty of form may be, disaster will come to the herd. Next examine the form, with regard to what you require. Then comes the question of early maturity and easy fattening qualities. In all farm animals tractability and quietness of disposition are essential. In swine this is especially so, as on the disposition of the animal largely depends the quality of fattening quickly and easily.


The question of feeding swine comes under two heads, viz., that of feeding swine for breeding purposes and feeding for fattening only.

In feeding the breeding animal attention should be given to feeding for a strong constitution, a more active animal, and perfect health. True economy in this will dictate that they have the warmest possible shelter in winter and that they be kept cool in summer, with some place where they can escape from insect enemies. They should have range sufficient for them to exercise their instinct in rooting for such underground vegetation as their nature may require. This promotes health and strengthens their constitution.

These animals which are intended for fattening (and which are the very great per cent of swine in the country), and whose lives do not extend to beyond 15 months at most, are fattened, ready for sale, within ten months, and do not require this range and exercise.

If the breeding stock have been kept healthy they should transmit health to the offspring, giving them a strong constitution on which to build.

The young pigs should be weaned when about six weeks old, allowing them plenty of skimmed milk and buttermilk, mixing at seven or eight weeks old a fair portion of corn-meal mush, or, better still, light wheat and rye screenings ground together. Give them grass also as soon as they will eat it, and at three months old they may be put on clover. In addition to clover, give the young pigs all the milk and other slops of the house, and also give what corn they will eat. The older pigs will do well on clover and corn without the slops. The summer and early fall is the best season for fattening hogs. The gain during this time will be more rapid than at any other season. In the late fall, winter and spring the hogs should be housed in dry, warm sheds or barns. -

The fact should never be overlooked that it requires a certain percentage of the food to supply daily animal waste. The young animal converts into flesh more of the food given than a full grown one ; no matter how long the animal is kept, the daily waste goes on constantly. True economy is therefore to feed strong from birth and keep them growing as fast as possible. In this way you shorten the feeding period and get them to market quickly. Do not neglect the hogs. Feed them regularly and often enough so that they will not overeat, as this is apt to cause trouble with the hog as with the human being.

Further, see that they have plenty to drink. Neglect to furnish abundance of pure water is a common source of loss and favors the outbreak of disease. Impure and germ laden water invites disease.

Hogs which are being fattened are not given their natural exercise, neither are they at liberty to root in the ground, where they could get the roots and herbs necessary to their digestion. They are, therefore, on account of their confined condition, liable to contract disease. To aid their digestive organs and supply them with the proper ingredients to aid in digesting and assimilating their food, they should be given a small amount of stock tonic each day by mixing Dr. David Roberts' Stokvigor with ground oil cake, and giving this to them in their feed.


The care of young hogs is important in getting the results, and "best results" are what every one is striving for. After you have used care in selecting- and feeding your hogs, do not lose the benefit of it by not properly caring for them.

A boar will be ready for service when six or eight months old, but it is better to wait until he is about ten months of age at least. The sow is capable of breeding at seven or eight months old. However, it is better to wait until she is ten or twelve. One litter of pigs per year is enough for the average sow, although some will raise two. If the sow has a warm place for farrowing, the earlier in the season the pigs are produced the greater will be the profit from them.


The necessity of castrating the hoar pigs, for pork-making purposes, is generally admitted, but the importance of spaying such sow pigs on the farm or in the herd, as are not designed for breeders, has never been appreciated as it should, or as it is likely to be, when the rearing of swine is conducted on such business principles as its importance demands.

The sows that were not intended to be kept as brood sows on the Roberts' Stock Farm, at Racine, Wisconsin, and owned by the father of the writer, were spayed. The writer had a splendid opportunity of watching this little operation, considered so simple, yet requiring a thorough knowledge of the anatomy of the hog, as well as some skill.

Open sows running with other hogs are a source of great annoyance, and where more than two or three are kept, there is scarcely a time when one of their number is not in heat, and continually chasing others, thus keeping them in a worried, fevered condition, extremely detrimental to their growth or fattening.

If all sows are trimmed, this annoyance is avoided, the hogs are quiet and restful, and much time, trouble and feed are saved.

It was very noticeable on the old stock farm that sows thus spayed fed more kindly and profitably than those that were not, and the butchers or buyers preferred spayed sows to barrows, claiming that their meat had a sweeter taste than that of other pigs.

How to Spay Sows.

They should be spayed under six months of age. This requires two attendants; one holding the front feet forward, -and the other the hind feet back, placing the sow on her right side. The hair should be shaved off the spot where the incision is to be made (a little back of the last rib, and about midway up and down), then cut a gash about one-half an inch deep and two to three inches long, up and down; slip the flesh back each way about an inch, making a round gash, or wide incision, then turn the knife and stick the blade straight in gently, deep enough to go through the peritoneal lining, or covering of the bowel, at the upper corner of the incision ; then put the left fore-finger in, and with the right fore-finger tear the hole large enough to allow working room for the fingers; feel inside near the back of the first two fingers of the left hand for the "ovary," a little knotty lump, which cannot be mistaken, for there are no others like it within reach ; but if it is not found, as is sometimes the case, then feel for the tubes or womb, which is called pig-bag. At the end of these tubes are found the ovaries, which can be pinched off with a thumb and finger without much danger of causing any hemmorrhage or permanent injury.

After these have been removed, slack up the upper hind leg, so as to close the gash, and sew up with two or three stitches, taking good hold, but going only skin deep. Apply Healing Oil over the wound, after the stitching has been completed. Healing Oil should also be freely applied to the operator's hand, knife, and seat of operation, to avoid any infection.


Pigs should be castrated at from two to three weeks old. Never delay it later than the age of four weeks. This operation should not be performed in cold, damp weather.

Give your hogs the best of care and attention, for without these the finest bred hogs in the land will soon degenerate and become only scrubs.

See Prescription No. 173, page 182.


The sow should have a quiet, dry, warm place and plenty of bedding. Rich food should not be fed for a few days before and after farrowing.


The average period of gestation in a sow is four months. This varies some-times several days. Whenever you have a good breeding sow keep her as long as you can, as young sows are often bad mothers. A sow will remain a good breeder for about eight years, unless she becomes overloaded with fat. This should be guarded against.


Diseases of swine are usually classed as infectious and contagious. The infectious form is known as Epizootic Catarrh. The contagious form usually appears as Hog Cholera, Pneumcenteritis.

In the care of swine the prevention of disease is of the utmost importance. They are indeed subject to comparatively few ailments; but these few are generally of the most serious kind. In such cases the great difficulty is in administering the medicine, as the animals are usually too sick to take it in their feed. For this reason it is much more important to keep hogs in a healthy condition, and prevent them from having disease than it is to treat them after they have been taken sick.


Abortion in sows may be divided into two forms, infectious abortion and accidental abortion; either one is a loss and a detriment to the stock owner. It is pretty thoroughly understood that the infectious form is the one which produces the greatest loss. Accidental abortion in sows may be brought on by injuries usually received by sows heavy with pig passing to and from pens or pastures in which there might be sills or boards under gates which they are compelled to either jump over, or drag themselves over, in this heavy pregnant condition. Infectious abortion may be brought on by breeding sows having a weakened or catarrhal condition of the genital organs, to a boar used on all sows. If the boar becomes infected he is then in a condition to infect all sows bred to him.

The treatment for infectious abortion in sows consists in the giving of Breeding Tonic and washing the genital organs of both sow and boar with a solution of Antisepto. The pens should be thoroughly disinfected with Disinfectall.

See Prescription No. 174, page 182.


This disease usually afflicts fat hogs, but may attack any hog afflicted with indigestion.

When a hog is thus afflicted the animal acts stupid, the eyes are red, the pulse hard and rapid, and the bowels constipated. As the disease continues the animal may become partly or wholly blind, going around in a circle and striking against objects, and usually falls unconscious. The limbs will stiffen; froth flows from the mouth, and the breathing is hard, with a snoring sound.

The first move to make when a hog is thus taken is to dash cold water over its head and pour a continual stream on the head, and the higher up the pail or dish is held while pouring. the better impression it will have.

An animal should receive a quart or more of warm water injection per rectum, and be given a small dose of Laxotonic, dry on the tongue. The Laxotonic should be continued until the animal's bowels are in a normal condition, at which time the disease will have passed away.

See Prescription No. 199, page 182.


Canker, or sore mouth, in pigs may be brought on by many different causes, such as the result of unhealthy milk from the sow, or from poison on her teats contracted by coming in contact with poisonous vines, or wet grass.

In such an event the sow will have small lumps on the udder and sometimes sores. Next will be noticed blisters on the lips, tongue and mouth of the pigs. The tongue and lips become swollen and the roof and sides of the mouth inflamed and" covered with deep red or white blisters.

To overcome this the sow's udder should be washed off with a mild solution of Germ Killer and apply Healing Oil to the udder and teats. If the little pigs do not get enough of the treatment from the udder and teats of the sow, it will be necessary to swab out their mouths with Healing Oil.

See Prescription No. 200, page 182.


The first sign of this disease is usually a discharge from the nose. The inflammation gradually extends to the throat. The animal snuffles and coughs some; the mucous membrane swells and the nose thickens and becomes twisted and distorted and ill shaped and, when exercised a little, the discharge from the nose becomes bloody.

The animal still eats reasonably well, but will not fatten or grow, and gradually dwindles away and will die if not properly treated.

For these cases it is necessary to give Hog Tonic internally and apply White Liniment to the throat from ear to ear. Fever Paste is oftentimes required to over-come their high temperature. The pen should be thoroughly disinfected with Dis-. infectall, as the fumes of Disinfectall have a tendency to loosen the catarrhal condition of the nose, thereby enabling them to expel this mucous.

See Prescription No. 201, page 182.


If pigs are constipated and no attention given to them, they usually grow worse.

Constipation usually indicates a fever, and if neglected, will soon cause what is known as pile, or eversions of the rectum, which is a very dangerous disease; for if it does not destroy the animal, it will reduce him to a condition that requires destruction. The bowels may become so protruded, ulcerated, and infected as to cause gangrene.

Pigs thus afflicted should be given laxative food consisting of bran and linseed tea. Laxotonic should be given as per direction, warm water injections per rectum, and Badger Balm applied to the protruding bowel.

See Prescription No. 202, page 182.


Small pigs are frequently taken with diarrhoea, in which case the pens should be disinfected by thoroughly using the Disinfectall, after which Calf Cholera Remedy should be added to a little sweet milk as directed and given them.

See Prescription No. 175, page 182.


Hog Cholera, like other diseases, does not always show the same symptoms, or always exist under the same conditions. What may be the most pronounced symptom in one case, may be entirely different in another outbreak of this disease. Such symptoms as diarrhoea or constipation, coughing, redness of the skin of the belly and inside of the thighs, are the general symptoms in Hog Cholera. However, one or more of these symptoms may be partially or entirely lacking in some of the cases.

Certain conditions are usually observed on post mortem examination. The mesenteric glands and intestines are usually congested, ulcers are frequently present in the small intestines, while small red spots may be seen on the surface of the different organs, such as the kidney, liver, or heart.

Hog Cholera is frequently associated with another very fatal disease, known as Swine Plague. This disease seems to invade the lungs to a great extent, while Cholera appears to affect the alimentary canal. The lungs of a hog afflicted with Saline Plague often contain ulcers and congested spots, while the bowels of a hog afflicted with Hog Cholera, as above stated, also contain ulcers and congested spots.

A post mortem examination is often necessary to determine whether the disease be Swine Plague, or Hog Cholera, and while acting in the capacity of Wisconsin State Veterinarian, the writer, in order to determine positively as to which disease existed in a herd, conducted a number of post-mortem examinations. They not only satisfied him, but proved instructive to the live stock owners as well.

Considerable interest has been displayed during the past few years in the Serum Treatment of Hog Cholera, this treatment being intended as a preventive rather than a curative, and for this reason it should be used on healthy hogs in vicinities where Hog Cholera exists.

In order to obtain best results, when Hog Cholera has made its appearance among the hogs, it is advisable to thoroughly disinfect all feeding platforms, pens, and sleeping quarters with a strong solution of Disinfectall. The hogs should be fed sparingly on clean, wholesome feed, with Hog Tonic added to it as per directions. The drinking water should be of the purest, and a little Disinfectall added to it, just enough to give it a bluish color.

If one or more animals are attacked, those apparently well should be removed it once to newly disinfected quarters, and both bunches should receive the best of care and attention, including medicine, wholesome food, and pure water. If any more of them become sick, the hogs which have not as yet shown signs of sickness must again be removed to other pens, and so on, until the disease has been controlled.

See Prescription No. 176, page 182.


The hogs should be thoroughly washed or dipped in a solution of Disinfectall, as per directions. Older hogs can stand it a little stronger. After they have been thoroughly scrubbed or dipped in this solution, and a few applications of Diolice have been thoroughly sprinkled on them, you will have no further trouble with lice.

See Prescription No. 179, page 182.


Mange, scab or itch, in the lower animals is a skin disease of a purely local nature, due to a parasite which produces an irritation, ulceration, and suppuration of the surface of the body, and is oftentimes termed a deep seated skin disease.

It is a contagious disease, never originating spontaneously, and requiring for its development the passage of the parasites or their eggs, from diseased to healthy animals. In man this disease is termed itch ; in the lower animals it is usually alluded to as mange, and in sheep it is a well-known destructive disease called scab.

As this disease is due to a parasite which burrows deeply into the skin, it is a hard matter to overcome it without prompt and proper treatment, such as covering the entire body of the pig with soft-soap and leaving it on for a few hours, and washing the entire body with a warm solution of Germ Killer, scrubbing the animal thoroughly at the time of washing.

After the animal has been washed, the Skin Ointment should be thoroughly rubbed into the skin, and especially over the infected parts. This treatment should be repeated several times in the course of ten days, for it is necessary to kill the mites which were in the form of eggs when the first treatment was given. The treatment does not affect the eggs, consequently it is necessary to repeat it a number of times. Hog Tonic should be given as an internal treatment, and the animal should be given good, clean, nutritious feed.

See Prescription No. 203, page 182.


Measles in swine is caused by a parasite called the bladder worm, contracted by eating the eggs from the tape worm of man in its food, just as trichinosis is caused by eating food containing the germs of this parasite.

Dogs oftentimes carry and evacuate the eggs of the tape worm. For this reason care should be taken that swine do not eat this excrement. If the flesh of measly pork is eaten by man without its being thoroughly cooked, he is apt to become infected with a tape worm ; hence it is never safe to eat measly pork, since there is always danger that the cyst may escape death in cooking. Measly pork is known by the cysts, some of which are nearly the size of a grain of barley, distributed through the muscular and other tissue.

In the living hog, when infected, there will be found small watery pimples of a pink or red color, just under the skin. There will also be weakness of the hind parts, and general lack of health.

The best method of overcoming this trouble is to use preventives, such as giving the entire herd of hogs regular treatment for worms, as contained in our Worm Powder directions.

See Prescription No. 204, page 182.


Paralysis, or partial paralysis of the muscles of the loins or back in pigs is a frequent occurrence, but usually does not seem to interfere with the appetite or general health of the animal.

This condition is sometimes caused by a severe strain of the back, or blows on the back or loins, producing concussion of the spinal cord.

The kidney worm often causes this condition, and for this reason all hogs should be given Worm Powder to rid them of these parasites, as the prevention of this disease will save a great deal of trouble and loss.

If the cause is unknown, a liniment, such as the White Liniment, should be thoroughly rubbed in along the spine. The animal should be given comfortable quarters, with freedom from disturbance by other pigs. They should be fed on sloppy, soft food and sour milk, and if constipated, should be given warm injections per rectum daily, and small doses of Laxotonic as per directions until recovery.

See Prescription No. 205, page 182.


Quinsy, or sore throat in hogs, is of frequent occurrence, rapid in its progress and usually proves fatal. It is usually confined to fat hogs, or those highly fed.

The first sign of the disease is swelling of the glands under the throat, followed by rapid and difficult breathing and difficult swallowing. When the throat becomes sore and cankered, the tongue protrudes from the mouth and is covered with saliva.

Hogs thus afflicted should be given sloppy food, such as ground oat-meal, corn meal, bran with linseed meal, sufficient to make it slimy. Fever Paste should be administered on the tongue with a spoon, and White Liniment applied to the throat from ear to ear. All abscesses should be opened and washed out with Germ Killer solution.

If the bowels are constipated, small doses of Laxotonic should be administered in the feed and warm water injections per rectum daily.

It is exceedingly dangerous to drench a hog, whether it be afflicted with a sore throat or not. It is safer to give medicine in feed or on the tongue than to drench them.

See Prescription No. 206, page 182.


Hogs afflicted with rheumatism usually act dull and arc disinclined to move, and when they do move, they are apt to be lame in one or more limbs, with heat, swelling, or tenderness of a joint or tendon; or a group of muscles may be affected. This form of lameness seems to shift from one joint to another.

In order to overcome this disease it is very important to empty the contents of the bowels. This can be done by giving small doses of Laxotonic as per directions, and warm water injections per rectum. It is sometimes necessary to add castor oil to the feed of pigs thus afflicted, as it has a tendency to soothe as well as to loosen the bowels.

The sleeping quarters for pigs thus afflicted should be dry, warm and airy. They should not be permitted to cuddle together, as by so doing they become hot and sweaty, and later take cold, which has a tendency to bring on rheumatism.

See Prescription No. 207, page 182.


Is an ailment due to contraction of the diaphragm and often affects the heart, and is often noticed in pigs which are afflicted with indigestion.

Treatment consists in giving Hog Tonic to overcome indigestion.

See Prescription No. 177, page 182.


For worms give Hog Tonic or Worm Powder according to directions. See Prescription No. 178, page 182.

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