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swine, name for any of the cloven-hoofed mammals of the family Suidae, native to the Old World. A swine has a rather long, mobile snout, a heavy, relatively short-legged body, a thick, bristly hide, and a small tail. The name swine is applied mainly to domestic animals, which are also known as hogs. Sometimes these are called pigs, a term which in the United States is more correctly reserved for the young animals. Boar is a term for a male domestic swine suitable for breeding, but the term wild boar is used for the common wild swine, Sus scrofa, of Eurasia and N Africa. There are no true swine native to the New World, although a similar, related animal, the peccary, is found in the deserts and rain forests of parts of N and S America. The so-called wild hogs found in parts of the United States are descendants of the European wild boar, introduced for sport hunting, or hybrid offspring of escaped domestic hogs. Widely regarded as one of the most destructive invasive species, these feral swine are a significant agricultural pest in many areas of their range and also are harmful to a range of wild bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species.
The wild boar may reach a height of 3 ft (90 cm) and a length of 5 ft (150 cm). It has 9-in. (30-cm) tusks and a fierce disposition. Now rare in Europe, it is still common in parts of Asia. The Eurasian wild boar is believed to have been domesticated in Anatolia c.7000 B.C. or earlier. Modern domesticated hogs appear to be descended chiefly from this wild boar, with European strains supplanting Near Eastern ones after domesticated swine were introduced into Europe, and with some much later admixture of the smaller Asian domesticated swine that originated from a different subspecies in China about 8,000–9,000 years ago. Hogs were introduced into the Americas by Columbus on his second voyage in 1493; in 1609 hogs were shipped to the Jamestown colony from England.
Swine are valuable for their flesh, prepared as ham, bacon, and pork, and for their fat (lard); they also provide many other products, e.g., leather for gloves, footballs, and other articles, and bristles for brushes. Hogs are commonly grouped as meat-type or lard-type, with the former dominating the U.S. farms. Hogs are raised in nearly all parts of the United States, but the corn belt of the Midwest is the chief hog-raising area, with Iowa by far the leading hog-producing state.
A great majority of U.S. hog production has moved from open pens to enclosed, mechanized facilities. The trend is toward huge, factorylike hog farms where swine are born and bred inside structures that feed, water, and dispose of wastes while controlling ambient temperature. Though hogs will eat almost any food, modern swine feed is nutritionally balanced to produce rapid and healthy growth. Based on a mix of corn and soybeans, the feed is supplemented by minerals, vitamins, and antibiotics. The giant modern farms produce enormous amounts of hog waste; this has become of increasing concern as a potential source of water pollution.
Diseases of Swine
See J. Blakely, The Science of Animal Husbandry (3d ed. 1982); O. Schell, Modern Meat (1984).
wild boar (Sus scrofd), an artiodactylous mammal of the family Suidae. Body length, up to 2 m; height at the withers, up to 1.2 m; weight, up to 300 kg. The upper and lower tusks, particularly large on the males, are turned up and out. The body is covered with coarse bristles, and in the winter, with a soft undercoat. Adult boars are brown; the young have light lengthwise stripes. They inhabit North Africa, Europe, and Asia. In the USSR they live in the Baltic region, Byelorussia, the Ukraine, the Volga delta, Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, Southern Siberia, and Primor’e.
The wild boar prefers forests and reeds near reservoirs and mountain forests. It is omnivorous, feeding on rhizomes, tubers, grass, acorns, the fruit of wild apple and pear trees, worms, insect larvae, snails, and small rodents. Wild boars herd in small groups and are nocturnal animals. They mate from November through January, and three or four young are born from March to May. Boars are hunted for their meat, hide, and bristles. They sometimes damage crops. Domestic pigs derived from the wild boar.
REFERENCESSludskii, A. A. Kaban. Alma-Ata, 1956.
Sokolov, I. I. “Kopytnye zveri.” Moscow-Leningrad, 1959. (Fauna SSSR: Mlekopitaiuschie, vol. 1, issue 3.)
Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1961.
I. I. SOKOLOV
a male swine animal; the swine sire. The sexual instincts appear at four or five months of age. For best breeding results, the boar should be put into service no earlier than ten months of age, when it weighs 160–200 kg. In purebreeding, the boars selected are from superior parents, the largest and most typical representatives of their breed and possessing no apparent external defects. Culling is carried out at the age of two months according to physical appearance and at six to 6½ months according to weight, average daily weight gain, backfat thickness, body length, and the plumpness of the ham area.
During the first breeding season, the reproductive capacity of the boar is tested according to the conception rate of sows and the quality of the piglets. Boars that are transferred to the main herd, which is done at about 1½ years of age, are progeny tested, that is, evaluated according to their genotype—the fertility of their daughters, the total weight of each litter at birth, and the fattening rates and meat qualities of the offspring. Such an evaluation system makes it possible to differentiate boars according to desired traits. In directed purebreeding, high-grade boars are used as the progenitors of lines based on the dominant characters of the boar—fattening rate, or meat quality, and fertility.
The quality of the semen is checked periodically. A boar produces more offspring than a sow, especially with the widespread use of artificial insemination, and to some extent affects the productive qualities of the progeny. With artificial insemination, a single boar may service 250 to 500 sows. A boar is usually bred five to seven years.
REFERENCEVolkopialov, B. P. Svinovodstvo, 4th ed. Leningrad, 1968.
E. I. GRUDEV
What does it mean when you dream about a boar?
The wild boar is an aggressive and potentially dangerous animal. As a cliché, the boar is used to depreciate the personality of some people; e.g., the statement, “they are such a boar.” Perhaps the dreamer is bored by a person or a situation (or have they become the boar?)