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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/704

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622
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

been well nigh crossed out of existence. The pigs found at present in the northern counties are of no particular type; they appear to be mainly crosses of the Yorkshire boar on the country sows, their age and substance varying according to the local demand for pork which is ruled by the calling of the inhabitants.

The pig country, par excellence, is North America, where the porcine population is said to total some forty millions. A very large proportion of these are Poland Chinas, Durse-Jerseys, Chester Whites, Victorias or Cheshires; all of these breeds are claimed to be new breeds of home manufacture. This may or may not have sufficient foundation. The Poland China is a compound breed; its present appearance—fashion in pigs changes as much in the United States as fashions generally do in this country—is very similar to a Berkshire, of the thick-shouldered, heavy-boned type, save that the ears are somewhat longer, and broken or bent in the middle instead of being pricked, as is the ear of the Berkshire. There is no doubt that the Poland China is a marvellous pig for the manufacture of lard out of Indian corn, or, as we term it, maize. The Durse-Jersey is a red pig of much the same conformation as the Poland China; its breeders however claim that it is more prolific. Chester Whites and Cheshires are white in colour; the former is a somewhat coarse lard-producing hog; the latter is a longer pig, and more of what we should term a bacon hog of indifferent quality. The Victoria is a compound pig of a white colour, which is due to the use of a white boar of the so-called Suffolk or Small Yorkshire breed; these breeds in turn appeared to be really importations of Middle White or Small White pigs from this country. The Berkshire and the Chester White sows appear to have been used to build up the Victoria pig, which is very similar in appearance to many of the cross Middle White and Berkshire fat pigs shown in the Middle White and cross bred classes at the Smithfield Show in London. The pork packers in the States have been endeavouring of late years to induce pig breeders to pay more attention to the length and quality of flesh and bone of their pigs, in order that they may capture a share of the high class English bacon trade; their success so far has not been great, as not only is it necessary to have the right type of pig, but it is also imperative that the pigs must be fed on a mixture of foods, of which maize forms only a comparatively small proportion during the latter part of the fatting period.

Pig breeders in the British Isles are more likely to find far stronger competition in the bacon manufactured in Canada and Denmark than in that produced in the United States. The pigs in the Dominion were of a mixed character, and more suitable for the production of mess or barrel pork, such as is used up country in the lumber districts of Canada; these barrels of fat pork and the other necessary, but not very varied, supplies of food are sent up into those parts where the lumbermen will work for some months entirely separated