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Pig's on Irish Farm's.


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Most farms kept a sow which would be fed on scraps, or if there had been a good harvest of potatoes then the pigs would be fed these, up until the 1950's many of the larger farms had a large cast iron boiler under which they could light a fire, gorse was often used as fuel, in this chats (Small potatoes) were boiled and fed to the pigs. The pig generally had quite a good if short life, spending its time snuffling around looking for tit bits. From the sow the farmer may get two litters of piglets per year, the size of the litter would vary from six to as many as twelve.

The more piglets produced the better the family could live. It was he practice when the pigs were well grown to kill and cure one or two for the house, this may be done by the farmer himself, but sometimes a traveling butcher was called in. Pigs that were surplus could be sold at the market, the pig was often referred to as 'The gentleman who pays the rent.'

Under EEC legalization it is illegal for farmers to butcher his own animals, even though he does not intended to sell the meat.

Many people regard pigs as dirty animals, in fact they are one of the cleanest of our farm animals, their reputation probably comes from their habit of taking mud baths, they do this to rid themselves of parasites. The pig lice breathes through pores in its body, when the pig rolls in mud these pores get clogged killing the lice, also lice lay their eggs and cement them to the pigs hair, the drying mud may help to detach the eggs. Pigs don't have sweat glands so in warm weather they will roll in the mud to keep cool

Pigs are said to have first been domesticated in Russia about 6000 BC, they are descended from the wild boar which roamed the forests, where they spent their time grubbing around the forest floor looking for edible roots and fungus to eat. In France they are used today to find truffles an edible fungi which is regarded as a delicacy by both man and pig. Pigs can be used on a farm to clean ground that is badly infested with weeds, left in a field they will dig it up with their powerful snouts, eating the roots of weeds and couch grass.