- How To Do Things, 1919, The Farm Journal, Wilmer Atkinson Company, Philadelphia
When corn climbs toward the two dollar mark, many hog raisers are tempted to cut down the amount of grain, even though it means a poorer finish on the spring pigs. A more logical solution of the problem would be to give a full feed, but to give it in an economical way that brings good results. Many experiments, together with the testimonies of practical farmers, show that such a solution is to be had by "hogging down" the crop.
What are the advantages of this practice? Unquestionably the saving of labor connected with husking and handling the grain is one of the greatest. The scheme takes the "backbone" out of husking and puts it into feeding. Husking and cribbing are dispensed with. Shoveling into the crib, back again to the wagon when the corn is hauled to the feed lots, and a third time to the feeding floors is eliminated. The same saving is effected in the handling of manure, there being no need of hauling and scattering it. The fertility of the soil is built up. Storage charges on the grain are reduced to a minimum and the rats are cheated out of their customary toll.
The quality of pork is just as good and the gains more economical than when the corn is hand fed, although best results are secured when the hogs have forage along with the grain, preferably some crop seeded in the corn at the time of the last cultivation. The animals are healthier because of the exercise, than when the shotes are fed in a dry lot. Many weeds are cleaned up by the hogs. Fall plowing may be done, for the hogs will gather the corn quickly and tramp the stalks down.
Every good thing has its bad features, to be sure. It is true of "hogging down" corn. Here are the things that can be said against the plan:
It is claimed that the soil will be packed by having the hogs running on it. this objection may have some weight in very wet weather, but in dry weather it is boubtful whether the hogs do any more damage than the other animals usually turned in after the corn is husked. The loss of stover is another objection. Generally a certain amount of stover is left in the field anyway. If the corn in those fields is harvested by hogs, the stalks will decay much sooner. The slight waste occasioned when heavy hogs are turned into a field is cared for by turning in some shotes.
Now you have both sides of the question. Does it appeal to you? A man out in Iowa said, "No" to that question several years ago, but he was persuaded to try the plan. After a trial he observed that his ground soon produced better corn in those fields where the hogs were doing the harvesting.
If the plan looks good enough to try, fence the field hog tight. The larger fields need to be divided so that the shotes will not have too large a field to harvest at one time. Eight spring shotes ito the acere is the customary rule, and it is well to have a field cleaned up in ten or twelve days. Fences of woven wire, if fastened to solid corner or end posts, may be attached to the cornstalks through the field.
The farmer should frequently examine his hogs about the ears, flanks, and inside of the legs to see if they are lousy. Lice are common pests among swine, and vigorous and persistent treatment is required to eradicate them. They may be readily seen traveling among the bristles, particularly in the parts just mentioned. The eggs, or "nits," are small white oval bodies attached to the bristles. Dipping does not as a rule destroy the vitality of these eggs. Swine should be dipped frequently in order to kill the lice that hatch out of the eggs after the previous dipping. These lice are blood-sucking parasites, and by biting the hog and sucking blood they cause a great deal of skin irritation. Furthermore, they act as a drain on the vitality of the hog, through the loss of blood which they abstract. When lousy the hog is usually restless and rubs on posts and other convenient objects. The coat looks rough and harsh. This pest is transmitted from one animal to another by direct contact, or by contact with infected bedding or quarters.
To free hogs from lice they should be dipped two or more times at intervals of about two weeks. Several dippings may be required before complete eradication is accomplished. Do not fail at the same time to clean and disinfect thoroughly the sleeping quarters. Cresol compound (U.S.P.) may be used for dipping and disinfecting. For dipping mix in the proportion of two gallons to 100 gallons of water; for disinfecting, in the proportion of three gallons to 100 gallons of water. Although not always so effective as might be desired, coal-tar products of the kind ordinarily sold as stock dips are commonly used to treat hogs for lice. For use they are diluted with water in accordance with directions supplied by the manufacturers. Cresol compound and coal-tar dips may be purchased at the drug store.
Dipping vats are made of various materials, bu the most durable is cement.
Pasture is a pig's paradise. The longer the pasture lasts, the bigger will be the paradise. If the pasture lasts all the year, the pigs will have an everlasting paradise until they become pork. Here is the way to have a lasting paradise for sixty to seventy-five head of hogs:
Divide the hog pasture into four parts having the relative size of the four lots shown, and put a watering trough in the middle. Handle the lots as follows:
Lot 1: Sow with rye late in August or early in September, about one and one-half to two bushels of seed to the acre. This will do to pasture from December to May. In the spring plow the rye under and sow soy-beans for pasture the following September and October.
Lot 2: This lot needs no attention until early next spring, when oats and rape should be seeded on it to furnish pasture for the hogs as soon as they are removed from the rye on Lot 1 in May. This will keep them supplied with pasture till the last of June. It can be pastured again in August until the soy-beans are ready on Lot 1. Then when the hogs are placed on the soy-beans, Lot 2 can be plowed under and seeded with rye which will do to pasture in December, and until the following May.
Lot 3: This lot should be seeded with rape about the first of May. It can be pastured from the last of June until the middle of August when the hogs are put back on Lot 2. It can be pastured again when the hogs are through with the soy-beans on Lot 1, until the rye is ready on Lot 2.
Lot 4: This is a permanent pasture of alfalfa, and should be seeded the latter part of August. This lot is used as a sort of a reserve pasture for times when other lots might not be ready for use, or could not be used very conveniently.
[Illustration: Lot 1=3A. Dec. to May,
Sept. and Oct; Lot 2=3A. June. August,
Sept.; Lot 3=2A. July, August, Oct., Nov.; Lot 4=2A. Any
The new man from the Simpson place drove past his neighbor's farm with five sows in the wagon one morning in early April. His neighbor was fixing the fence at the foot of the hill, just where the new man stopped to rest his team.
"Got them from the Jones' farm," came from the driver in answer to his neighbor's question. "I don't know where I'm going to put them, though."
"Well, what you ought to do is to make some movable sheds, one for each sow, and pull them out into the lot so the sows can farrow undisturbed. I use them almost entirely, they're cheap. Drive on up the hill, tie your team and come and see them."
"Now, here's one in use," he continued as they walked about the hog lot. "This sow farrowed out here three days ago, all alone. Saved every pig."
"Looks as if those would be easy to make," observed the new man.
"Easiest thing in the world. You can make one in an hour or two. See, you take two pieces of 4X4 eight feet long for runners and build a floor on them, using two-inch planks for floor. Then use a 2X4 nine feet long for the ridge, and 2X4's eight feet long for the slanting studs, making an A-shaped frame. Put the roof boards up and down, and hinge them on one side for two doors which can be opened toward the sun on bright days. Between the upright pieces of 2X4 you can make a door at one end. I've made mine to slide up and down."
[Illustration: "An A-shaped frame"]
"What would five of those cost me?"
"That depends on what grade of lumber you use. I'll give you a list of the lumber for one of them, and you can take it to the lumber man for his prices."
After figuring on the roof of one of the houses for a few minutes, he produced this list, which he copied on the back of an envelope and handed the new neighbor.
2 pieces 4X4, 8 feet, for runners
2 pieces 2X4, 9 feet, for ridge
8 pieces 2X4, 8 feet, for studs
4 pieces 2X4, 4 feet, for end studs
1 piece 1X4, 2 feet, for above end door
1 piece 2X4, 10 feet, for fenders
9 pieces 2X12, 6 feet, for door
11 pieces 1X10, 16 feet, for shiplap for roof
4 pieces 1X10, 12 feet, for shiplap for ends
4 pieces 1X4, 8 feet, for door battens
3 pairs 6-inch strap hinges
1 pair 4-inch strap hinges; nails.
"It's too wet to work in the field this forenoon," said John Smith's hired man as he pushed his chair back from the breakfast table. "How about those self-feeders for the pigs?"
"Fine," came from the head of the table. "There are some short pieces of lumber overhead in the double crib. The pigs are old enough to wean now, and if we use self-feeders it will take less time to put them on the market."
"What difference does a little time make to a hog, uncle?" This time it was a cousin from the city who spoke.
"Maybe the hired man will explain that while you help him check up on the lumber. Take this list and help him to find all the pieces."
Together the hired man and the city boy went over the list:
2 pieces 1X6, 2 feet for end-crosspieces
2 pieces 1X12, 2 feet 9 inches for end-uprights
11 pieces 1X8, 3 feet for shiplap, top and sides
1 piece 1X12, 2 feet 10 inches for front sloping board
1 piece 1X10, 2 feet 10 inches for front sliding board
1 piece 1X8, 2 feet 10 inches for back sloping board
1 piece 1X8, 2 feet 10 inches for front of trough
1 piece 1X4, 12 feet for cleats
1 pair hinges, 2 wing-nut bolts.
"There's enough lumber for three self-feeders," said the hired man, "but the hinges and bolts are missing. What kind of feeders do you want?" John had just come into the driveway.
[Illustration: Fig. 1]
"The one-way kind; nothing elaborate. Here is a drawing, Fig. 1, the county agent gave me, showing a cross-section of one, with all the dimensions you'll need except the floor, which is fourteen inches from front to back, inside. Fig 2 is the finished feeder.
[Illustration: Fig. 2]
The top is hinged on at H, Fig. 1. The feeder is three feet long. First cut the end cross-pieces and nail a cleat on the inside of each to support the floor. Put the floor boards in. Cut the top of end-uprights to slope one inch toward the front, so water will drain off the top, then mark the position of deflecting boards on the end-uprights. Nail on the back, put in the sloping boards and nail on the front. Fasten the top together by 1X4 cleats and hinge it. Make quarter-inch slits in the front sloping board for the wingnut bolts. Two 1X2 cleats at each end will hold the slide snug. Finally, nail on the eight-inch board at front of trough, and we'll have our cousin from the city paint them. Then they'll look something like the manufactured feeders offered for sale."
"Each one will hold about five bushels," commented the hired man, as he nailed the floor in place. He put a handful of nails into his mouth. "Make-less work-at ch-chore time," came from between the nails.
The average farmer has faced the problem of how to raise winter pigs without milk. A satisfactory ration, when milk is not to be had, is a thick mash of the consistency of cream, composed of one-half corn-meal; the other half may be wheat middlings, equal parts of finely ground oats and barley, or oats or barley with middlings. Mix with hot water and feed warm three times a day until the pigs are four months
of age. After that twice daily, at about eight in the morning and five at night, is enough. Feed just what they will clean up greedily and no more. A cheap trough for feeding the mash is shown in the accompanying illustration. Give a drink of water occasionally.
When pigs are four months old the slop may be thinned. Water may not be necessary in addition to that in the slop. Give a little alfalfa hay, or better still, ground alfalfa hay may take the place of the middlings or oats after the pigs are five months old. Scatter soaked corn and whole oats on the floor to induce exercise, and always keep in the pen a pile of hardwood ashes on which a handful of salt has been scattered. An acre or two of winter rye pasture will be found very desirable in this connection. Dry bedding and lots of it should be provided at all times and changed at least once a week.