BY PASCHALL MORRIS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
The plan of the piggery delineated in the accompanying engraving is susceptible of reduction or extension, for a larger or smaller number of pigs, and is intended to supersede the not only useless, but objectionable as well as expensive, mode of constructing large buildings under one roof, where confined and impure air, as well as the difficulty of keeping clean, interfere greatly with both health and thrift. Twenty-five or thirty breeding sows, farrowing at different periods of the year, can be accommodated under this system of separate pens, by bringing them successively within the enclosure; or an equal number of hogs can be fattened without any crowding or interference with each other. Some two years ago I sold a very fine pair of Chester county pigs to a customer, (not a farmer,) who complained that at the end of twelve months they only weighed 175 pounds each. On inquiry as to his management, I found they had been kept in the horse stable, which was cleaned regularly once a month. It was dark and badly ventilated, and the pigs were entirely out of reach of sun and pure air. The tenacity of life shown by the white Chesters, under such circumstances, spoke well for the breed. Thrift and growth were of course impracticable. Neither the white Chester, nor any other breed with which we are acquainted, will do well in confined or close quarters ; and where too many are kept in a single pen the heat of contact is very apt to create mange.
The nature of a hog, no less than the composition of his food, indicates a large amount of animal heat, and we have always noticed that they suffer much more from heat and confinement than from cold. This fact is kept in view in the above arrangement. The entrance, as seen in the engraving, is on the north side of the building, which therefore fronts the south, as does also each separate pen. The main building is thirty-two feet long by twelve wide, with an entrance gate at each lower corner to the yard of two first divisions. The entry or room
in the centre is eight feet wide, allowing space for slop barrel, feed chest, charcoal barrel, (almost as indispensable as feed chest,) hatchway for access to root cellar underneath the whole building, and also passage way to second story. This latter is used for storing corn in winter and curing some varieties of seeds in summer. A wooden spout, with sliding valve, conveys feed to the chest below. The grain is hoisted to the second floor by a pulley and tackle on the outside, as observed in engraving.
The perspective of main building allows a partial view of platforms, surmounted by a board roof, and divisions in the rear. The ground plan allows six of these on either side of the passage way. The first two pens, to the right and left of the door, are 12 by 12 each, and attached to them are 25 feet in length of yard by 15 feet wide. All the yards are extended three feet wider than the building, which admits of the two entrance gates at the corners.
Another division then commences, consisting of a raised platform, 6 to 8 feet wide, and extending the same width as the first pen, with a board roof over it, and also boarded up on the back, which answers the purpose of a division fence to separate from the pen behind. Twenty-five feet of yard are also attached to this, and the same arrangement is continued to all the six divisions.
We have found this board roof and wooden floor on the north side of each pen and fronting the south to be ample protection in cold, wet, or stormy weather. The floor is kept perfectly clean, and even the feeding trough is not on it, on account of more or less of wet and dirt always contiguous to the trough, which freezes in winter and becomes slippery.
Each yard is used for the deposit of refuse vegetables and weeds, litter, &c., thrown in from time to time, to be consumed or converted into manure. This is conveniently loaded into a cart passing along on the outside of each range of pens.
The passage way between each range of pens gives convenient access to the feeder for all the divisions. A door also communicates from one division to the other, to make changes when necessary; and also a door or gate from each pen to the outside, so that one or more can be removed and others introduced without any confusion or interference from any of the other pens. The two pens under the main roof of the building, being more sheltered, are reserved for sows who may happen to farrow very early in the season, or in extreme cold weather, which is always avoided if practicable.
For several reasons, the boiler for cooking food is in a rough shed adjacent to the piggery and entirely outside of it. There is no reason why this should be necessarily a part of the piggery.
The above plan is not offered as embracing much that is novel in arrangement, but as one that combines many advantages—
1st. Complete separation, as well as easy communication between each pen, as well as to outside from each.
2d. Avoiding close and confined air, and admitting of extension or alteration for a large or small number of pigs.
3d. Facilities for keeping clean and receiving refuse vegetables and weeds, &c., for conversion into manure, and also for loading from each pen into a cart passing along outside.
4th. Cheapness. With the exception of the main building, all the rest can easily be erected by an intelligent farm hand.