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A Duroc sow at a livestock show in England
|Country of origin||USA|
Sus scrofa domesticus
Duroc pig is an older breed of American domestic pig that forms the basis for many mixed-breed commercial hogs. Duroc pigs are red, large-framed, medium length, and muscular, with partially drooping ears, and tend to be one of the least aggressive of all the swine breeds. They also have an excellent rate of gain.
The breed originated in America, one of several red pig strains which developed around 1800 in New England. It is said to have been named after a famous thoroughbred stallion of the day. The modern Duroc originated circa 1830 from crosses of the Jersey Red and New York's older Duroc. The breed started being used as show hogs around the 1950s. Durocs are used predominantly as sires (boars), and are appreciated for their hardiness and quick but thorough muscle growth.
Durocs have considerable variation in color. An acceptable color may range from a very light golden, almost yellow color, to a very dark red that approaches mahogany. The red is a very practical color that suits pork producers, and since it is a solid color there is no concern about fancy points of proper markings. Durocs have a medium length and slight dish of the face. The ears should be drooping and should not be held erect.
The Duroc Strain
The Duroc strain of hogs was started in Saratoga County, New York, by Isaac Frink who lived near Milton. He secured his first hogs in 1823 from Harry Kelsey, who had moved to Florida, Montgomery County, New York, in 1822. Mr. Kelsey was standing the famous Thoroughbred stallion Duroc, and Mr. Frink visited the Kelsey farm to see the horse. While at the Kelsey homestead he spied some red pigs that very much took his fancy, and he purchased some of them and took them home. Since the pigs had no breed name, he called them Durocs in honor of the stallion. Mr. Kelsey was said to have told Mr. Frink that the hogs had been imported, but just how many generations had elapsed since the importation, or whence the hogs had come, was never established. The Duroc hogs were of smaller size and more compact, but had greater quality and aptitude to take on fleshing at an early age than did the Jersey Reds. About 1830, William Ensign of Stillwater, Saratoga County, New York, secured a pair of red pigs in Connecticut that crossed very well with the strain that Mr. Frink had developed. Most of the red hogs in Connecticut at that time were said to have been of the Red Berkshire strain that had come to Long Island about 1820. The Duroc breeders were progressive, and in 1877 breeders from Saratoga and Washington counties, New York, met and decided on a scale of points for their breed of swine. While the Durocs of that day are said to have been smaller than the Jersey Reds, they were extremely heavy compared to what we think of as modern market hogs. In 1882 two different breeders imported Tamworths into the United States to cross on the strains of red hogs of the time. These two importations were made by Thomas Bennett, of Rossville, Illinois, and William H. Holmes and Sons of Grinnell, Iowa. Mr. Bennett brought in seven head of hogs and used them to a very limited extent but was dissatisfied with the offspring and discarded them all. Holmes and Sons imported two head but were not satisfied with their importation and sacrificed them upon arrival. Consequently there is no record that Tamworth blood played any part in the formation of the Duroc breed.
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