Productive Swine Husbandry, p. 183-184 (1913)
George E. Day

Soft Coal, Charcoal, and Tonic Mixture

Bulletin 150 of the Maryland Experiment Station gives results of a single test with soft coal, charcoal, and tonic mixture, made up as follows: Wood charcoal, 1 pound; sulphur, 1 pound; common salt, 2 pounds; bread soda, 2 pounds; sodium hyposulphite, 2 pounds; sodium sulphate, 1 pound; black antimony, 1 pound. The ingredients of the tonic were pulverized and thoroughly mixed. The cost of the mixture was 4 cents per pound.

Four groups of pigs eleven weeks old were used in the test, and all groups were fed a meal mixture composed of corn meal, wheat middlings, wheat bran, and linseed meal.

Lots 1 and 2 were given free access to soft coal and charcoal, respectively, lot 3 was fed one ounce of the tonic to every 10 pounds of meal, and lot 4 was fed nothing but the meal ration.

The average daily gain per pig in the four lots was ad follows: Soft coal, .695 pound; charcoal, .738 pound; tonic mixture, .958 pound; no corrective, .614 pound.

The cost of producing 100 pounds gain in weight was as follows:

  Lot 1
Soft coal
Lot 2
Lot 3
Lot 4
Meal $5.93 $5.42 $4.74 $5.84
Corrective .20 .14 .11 ....
Total cost $6.13 $5.56 $4.85 $5.84

It will be noticed that the lot receiving the tonic mixture made the most rapid and most economical gains, the lot receiving charcoal coming second. The hogs which were allowed access to soft coal made greater gains than those fed meal alone, but the gains were more expensive. It is stated that the hogs fed correctives had a decidedly better appetite than those which received none.

The experiment indicates that correctives or tonics may be used to advantage at times, but that it is easily possible to pay too much for them.