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From the Report of the Committee. The display of swine at the Norfolk Agricultural Fair was one of the finest ever seen in Massachusetts. The attention of farmers in Norfolk County seems to have been especially directed to the subject of swine. The Suffolk breed, in particular, is regarded with much enthusiasm.
The First Annual Report of the Secretary of the Board of Agriculture of Massachusetts, 1854, says, page 93, “ We see that the Suffolk, or rather a cross of the Suffolk with some other breed, holds the highest place in public estimation in all parts of the State.”
It is claimed, and coincides with the views of your committee, that, in point of economy, this breed of hogs is much easier kept, and takes on fat faster, and at less expense, than any other known. There is much less waste in cutting up for the barrel; the pork is sweeter and more delicate. They are docile, thristy, and mature early, weighing, at from twelve to eighteen months, from two hundred to four hundred and fifty pounds, and occasionally as high as five hundred. The extent to which these weighty considerations have a bearing upon the Massachusetts farmers cannot be better conveyed than by instancing the fact that the committee saw a few days since, at the farm of Dr. Morton, in West Needham, a pair of pure Suffolks, imported from the yard of Prince Albert for the sole purpose of getting a different strain of blood into his herd of Suffolks, which have already carried more prizes from the Norfolk County Show than any others in it, and from which a boar and a sow each took your Society's first premium at their last exhibition.
The profit in raising swine by the New England farmer is not in the breed alone; there should be warm, comfortable pig. geries, with conveniences for manufacturing manure. This is one of the largest sources of profit, and one which is entirely lost sight of by many.
HIRAM W. JONES, Chairman.
From the Report of the Committee.
We regret to say that, at our late annual fair, the results of no experiments, successful or unsuccessful, were presented for your committee's consideration. But we should regret still more to think that this fact is an indication of the real interest which the farmers of Essex County feel on the subject, and to be forced to believe that the matter is at rest. We apprehend that this subject is of vital importance where good beef and pork are spoken of as being plenty or scarce and at high or low prices; but how the prime or indifferent article gets there is another question, with which few are disposed to trouble themselves, except they are engaged in the business. As, how. ever, our best cattle and swine do not “rain down” nor run wild in the forest, there is need of expending a portion of our time and capital for the supply of our markets with these staple products, that the business may be a remunerative one to the producer.
And here we need the light of experience other than that which has yet been gained. What is requisite is, that we possess a knowledge of carefully-conducted experiments respecting the laws of nutrition, health, and the best process of fatten. ing animals whose flesh is so nutritious. For it is well known that long practice may of itself only confirm wrong views and habits; and it is evident that for some reason there is a deficiency, both in quantity and quality, in the cattle and swine now furnished for our market. Complaints are every where rife on this subject. There are many whose powers of mastication groan under the attempt to subsist on tough beef and Western pork. We believe that there are evils somewhere, which need to be sought out and remedied. Those of us who were not born Grahamites are well persuaded that there is a reason for the difference between the hale, hearty, jovial look of the farmers of Essex County, and the lean, lank visage of those of some of the other occupations. Our farmers have Yankee enough in them to know what good meat is, and ability sufficient to make use of such for their tables.
But the question recurs, What is to be done in order to make the best of beef and pork abundant ? We say that, first of all, there must be sought out by experiment, and then carefully practised, better and cheaper modes for fattening animals. We believe the thing is feasible—that proper effort in this direction will be successful. We would at present only hint at the subject. The question is not so much how we may fatten our best breeds of cattle or the young and most thriving ani. mals,—though in regard even to these great improvement may doubtless be made,—but the chief difficulty lies in fattening better and cheaper our oxen that have been inured to hard labor, and our cows that have become too old to become profitable in the dairy. It is desirable that the farmer should have the profit and the honor of selling them for first-class beef, and that the consumer should have the comfort of eating the same.
We have no doubt that proper trial can show how this can be done. For example: Our aged cow, whose appearance indicates that she was fit for little else than “crow-bait,” has been taken about the first of May, and in the course of a month, by bleeding, nursing and careful feeding, put in a thriving condition. In another month she was made fair-looking beef, and before the month of September was sold for a good article. If beef that is spcedily fattened is better, and if our ordinary grass-fed cattle could be prepared for market in one-half the usual time by daily additional feeding with meal during the summer months, there would evidently be a good gain to the farmer.
Another important question pertaining to this subject is the fattening of swine. We believe that, aside from a careful selection of the best breeds, attention should here be chiefly directed to three points the health, the comfort and the disposition of the animal. Much has been said about warm and convenient pens, cleanliness, ventilation, &c., which needs to be put in practice. We should like to have set before us a series of more careful experiments in the regular feeding of swine than have yet been made. We believe important knowledge may be elicited, by experiments in feeding the uneasy and troublesome that are to be fattened, by feeding them regularly four times a day instead of three—the usual method. Respecting the disposition of the animals we would only now say, that the feeder must carefully study the habits and character of each. Let the turbulent be provided with a quiet resting place, the quarrelsome be separated from each other, and let the excessively greedy have the temptation of a competitor in eating removed out of sight. On these and numerous other points we want careful and protracted experiments by our intelligent and enterprising farmers. We hope that another year will find some of them ready to receive, not only the liberal premium offered by the society, but the thanks of the community, for their efforts.
M. G. J. EMERY, Chairman.
Report of the Committee.
The Committee on Poultry, having attended to the duties assigned to them, and having had their eyes carefully cocked over a considerable collection of closely-caged and cooped, clawed and calcarated, captives, clamorously crowing, cackling and clucking, candidates of scratching, corn-catching, cocks. combical, cockadoodledoodom, continually calling on the committee for conscientious consideration, feel spurred to concoct the following report:
They found upon the field of display, and upon a range of platforms, running, to the best of their judgment, in a line from N. N. W. to S. S. E., and in plain view of the “proud bird of America,” (whose gilded wooden
- "eyes were open, though their sense was shut,” — Macbeth,) perched on the summit of the tower of the City Hall of Law.
rence, a goodly variety of coops and cages, some prepared with taste and judgment, and some with no taste nor judg. ment at all, and containing a varied collection and some excel.
lent specimens of the gallinaceous race, as well as some rather. ish indifferent samples thereof; so that, in the words of the immortal Shakspeare, by the mouth of Macbeth to Banquo, they might say,
“So fair and foul (fowl) a 'show' we have not seen."