The Fat of the Land eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 338 pages of information about The Fat of the Land.

The new house was finished in June, and the pigs were moved into it on July 1st with a lease of three months.  My mind has been easy on the question of the health of my hogs ever since; and with reason, for there has been no epizooetic or other serious form of disease in my piggery, in spite of the fact that there are often more than 1200 pigs of all degrees crowded into this five-acre lot.  The two pig-houses and the brood-house, with their runs, cover the whole of the lot, except the broad street of sixty feet just inside my high quarantine fence, which encloses the whole of it.



Each hog turned out from my piggery weighing 270 pounds or more, has eaten of my substance not less than 500 pounds of grain, 250 pounds of chopped alfalfa, 250 pounds of roots or vegetables, and such quantities of skimmed milk and swill as have fallen to his share.  I could reckon the approximate cost of these foods, but I will not do so.  All but the middlings and oil meal come from the farm and are paid for by certain fixed charges heretofore mentioned.  The middlings and oil meal are charged in the “food for animals” account at the rate of $1 a year for each finished hog.

The truth is that a large part of the food which enters into the making of each 300 pounds of live pork, is of slow sale, and that for some of it there is no sale at all,—­for instance, house swill, dish-water, butter-washings, garden weeds, lawn clippings, and all sorts of coarse vegetables.  A hog makes half his growth out of refuse which has no value, or not sufficient to warrant the effort and expense of selling it.  He has unequalled facilities for turning non-negotiable scrip into convertible bonds, and he is the greatest moneymaker on the farm.  If the grain ration were all corn, and if there were a roadside market for it at 35 cents a bushel, it would cost $3.12; the alfalfa would be worth $1.45, and the vegetables probably 65 cents, under like conditions, making a total of $5.22 as a possible gross value of the food which the hog has eaten.  The gross value of these things, however, is far above their net value when one considers time and expense of sale.  The hog saves all this trouble by tucking under his skin slow-selling remnants of farm products and making of them finished assets which can be turned into cash at a day’s notice.

To feed the hogs on the scale now planned, I had to provide for something like 7000 bushels of grain, chiefly corn and oats, 100 tons of alfalfa, and an equal amount of vegetables, chiefly sugar beets and mangel-wurzel.  Certainly the widow’s land would be needed.

The poultry had also outgrown my original plans, and I had built with reference to my larger views.  There were five houses on the poultry lot, each 200 feet long, and each divided into ten equal pens.  Four of these houses were for the laying hens, which were divided into flocks of 40 each; while the other house was for the growing chickens and for cockerels being fattened for market.

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The Fat of the Land from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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