« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Henry Mildmay. "After a few weeks' trial/' says the statement, "she could retrieve birds that had run as well as the best pointers, nay, her nose was superior to the best pointer her trainers ever possessed, and no two men in England had better." She appeared to take great delight in hunting, and often went alone the distance of seven miles, from the residence of one of the Toomer's to that of the other "as if to court being taken out shooting." She lived till she was ten years old, and was then killed because she was suspected of having aided in the disappearance of sundry lambs. She is said to have got fat and sluggish, and to have weighed 700 pounds.
It is but a few years since it was very common to hear an expression signifying that the breed of a hog is in the food he gets. This notion has been, to a great extent, eradicated, but is not yet without advocates. There are still some persons who do not believe there is anything in the breed, because, they say, they can't see why one hog should not fatten as well as another. But is that a good reason for denying the fact? Our belief extends to many things is plants and animals which we cannot clearly see or understand. We cannot see how it is that, of a parcel of apple or pear seeds—all of which to outward appearance, &re just alike, and probably would appear the same in composition, according to the nicest chemical test—some will produce excellent fruit, and others, with precisely similar advantages of soil and climate, fruit which is crabbed and aus* tere. We cannot see how it is that the bear should line and cover his frame with fat to an amount equal, perhaps, to half his whole weight, and which supplies his lamp of life for nearly half the year, while the wolf and the fox remain gaunt and lean. We cannot see how it is that the same kind of food, when eaten by the ox, the sheep, the hog, the turkey, the common fowl, or the goose, produces meat which, to human taste, is of very different qualities.
All these effects are very obvious; yet we cannot see their
causes, nor fully understand them. All we can say is, they re* suit from the nature of things. They show, however, that there ia in the original germ of plants and animals, a principle which produces certain peculiarities, greatly affecting, in many instances, their value for man's purposes. This principle is not only manifested in the characteristics of different species, but exists, more or less, in varieties of the same species. "We see its effects in the different kinds of wheat and other species of grain—in varieties of peas, beans, apples, potatoes, &c.—and in the peculiarities of different breeds of the dog, the sheep, the hog, and other domestic animals. It is the business of man to study these peculiarities, and secure and apply them in those ways which will render them most subservient to his wants.
It is to be regretted that certain differences in breeds of swine have not been demonstrated by careful and exact experiments. We are, however, in possession of some general facts in the case which are of great importance. Many farmers, for instance; have found that on the same amount and kind of food, some hogs will gain much faster than others; that some will become fat on uncooked vegetable food—as raw potatoes or apples—while others require grain or meal to bring them to a condition suitable for slaughtering; that some will keep in good order and even thrive on clover or grass only, while others will scarcely live on such fare; that in some the tendency to fatten is so great that they will only breed when kept on very low diet.
There is not only a difference in the amount of meat which different swine are capable of acquiring from an equal amount of food, but there is also a great difference in the quality of the meat. Some persons, doubting this, have said "pork is pork." So beef is beef; but is there not a great difference in the flavor and texture of beef from cattle of different breeds? This difference is so well understood in England, that the prices of beef are to a considerable extent regulated by the breed—the West Highlanders and Galloways taking the first rank, next the Herefords and Devons, and next the Short-horns. Breeds of sheep and swine exhibit similar and not less striking differ^ ences. Some swine have a thick skin, with flesh of an open, coarse texture, and unpleasant flavor; others a thin skin, with fine-grained, well-flavored flesh. Some convert their food almost wholly into fat, while in others it enters chiefly into the composition of muscle. In some the fat is accumulated chiefly on the belly, and is of a soft, oily nature; in others it is laid more on the back, and is comparatively firm and hard.
Of course the breed should be chosen with reference to the purposes in view. If lard oil is the principal object, the animal which will give the greatest quantity of soft fat for the food consumed will be most profitable. For barreling, clear pork is the main object, and the animal which will give the greatest quantity of solid fat on the back and sides is preferable. This is the description of pork which is chiefly consumed in the Eastern States and in the fisheries. In the Southern and Western States pork is used largely in the form of "bacon"— the whole of the meat is "dry-cured" and smoked. Where this is the object, the clear fat, which is so much prized in other cases, is not desirable, but a carcass which, like the Irishman's pig, gives a "strake o' fat and a strake o' lean," is more suitable.
The swine of the United States have been derived chiefly from great Britain, though occasional importations have been made from other countries. The British stock of the present day consists of various mixtures of the aboriginal race of that country with various Asiatic stocks—chiefly Chinese and Siamese. Not one of the present esteemed breeds can be said to be of unmixed origin. Youatt, in his treatise published in 1846, observed that the old breeds were "rapidly losing all traces of individuality under the various systems of crossing to which they are subjected." The old stock, which "with trifling degrees of difference," it is said, "was spread over the greater part of England," is described by Martin as "large, coarse, unthrifty, with a long, broad snout, large, flapping ears, low in the shoulders, long in the back, flat-sided, long in the limbs, and large-boned, with a thick hide covered with coarse*. bristles. They were enormous feeders but slow fatteners, consuming more food than was repaid by their flesh." But he observes that the "general system of crossing now pursued tends to the establishment of a uniform race throughout every county—that is, a race presenting the same outstanding characteristics."
B,fore giving a description of the various breeds, it maybe well to observe that the general wants of community in relation to pork, can be best supplied by two descriptions or classes of hogs, one for supplying the market with meat to be eaten fresh, and for baconing, as above mentioned; the other for making fafc pork for barreling, &c. This classification will therefore be adopted in the remarks which follow. The breeds whose special characteristic is the formation of fat, wid be first c mshlered, and, as having been the principal stock in changing the character of the old English, the first to be noticed is
The Chinese.—There are doubtless various breeds of swine in the "Celestial Empire." Specimens brought from that country are frequently seen presenting so marked a contrast of cli iraeters that no one would hesitate to pronounce them of diff)rent breeds. They [.vary greatly in color, from white to blick. Some of the early importations made to England and thence to this country, were black, and the idea appears to have been held that this was the invariable color of Chinese swine. Hence, Culley, who wrote in the year 1784, speaks of i;the Chinese, or black breed." YouaLi makes two distinct varieties of the Chinese, "the white and the black." The race, however, in all its variations, possesses the common characteristic of fattening easily. They are small boneil, and acquire great weights in proportion to the bone and offal. Those brought from their native country have seldom that perfection of form which is most esteemed in animals of this kind, and which the cross-bred descendants soon acquire when bkilfully bred. The pure Chinese fatten too much on the belly and too little on the back, and ?lio fat is inclined to be soft and oily. Touatt says, "they do not make good bacon, and are often too fat and oily to be generally esteemed as pork." The females are sometimes singularly prolific. The improvement which has been effected by means of the Chinese race, has resulted in the first place in lessening the bone and increasing the apti ude to fatten of the stocks with which they have been crossed, and afterwards selecting from the cross-bred stock such specimens as possessed the requisite points as to symmetry.
[ Fig. i. 3
The Improved Suffolk Breed.—This breed, represented by figure 1, is one of the most highly esteemed and valuable. Its origin, according to Youatt and Martin, was the old Suffolk crossed with the Berkshire and Chinese. Youatt says: "those arising from the Berkshire and Suffolk are not so well shaped > as those arising from the Chinese and Suffolk, being coarser, longer-legged, and more prominent about the hips." He concludes: "On the whole there are but few better breeds in tha kingdom than the Improved Suffolk." Martia says this breed "stands first;" and he describes the animal as "rather small, but compact, short-legged and small-headed; the body is round and they fatten readily." Kham, in his Dictionary of the Farm,