PRESS BULLETIN No. 306
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
VELVET BEANS FOR BROOD SOWS
By JOHN M. SCOTT
The value of velvet beans as a feed for hogs, and especially
for the brood sow, is a problem which has given the farmers of
Florida a great deal of concern.
The question of velvet beans as a feed for brood sows re-
ceived little or no attention until within the past three years,
and more especially the past two years. During this time a
great many hog raisers reported the loss of a large percentage
of pigs at farrowing time, or within a week or ten days after
farrowing. Some of the sows aborted, and in some cases the
pigs were deformed. A good many hog raisers have charged all
this trouble to the feeding of velvet beans.
On November 1, 1918, six brood sows, five Berkshires and
one Chester White, and one Berkshire boar were put on experi-
ment to test out the effect of a ration composed largely of velvet
beans. Part of the sows selected to be used in this experiment
had been fed a ration composed of corn and velvet bean feed
from May 1918 up to the beginning of the experiment. The
feeding pens were arranged so that each sow would be fed sep-
arately, and the feed for each animal was prepared and fed
The feeds used were ground corn and velvet bean feed,
mixed in the proportion of one part ground corn and two parts
velvet bean feed and eight parts water. By velvet bean feed is
meant beans and pods ground together. The amount of feed
given each hog at a time was as follows: one pound velvet bean
feed and one half pound ground corn. This mixture of feed was
placed in a bucket and enough water (about one gallon) added to
make a thin slop, and soaked for 24 hours. The hogs were given
April 19, 1919
no water except that in which the corn and velvet bean feed
On November 11, it was noticed that the Chester White sow
was sick. Her feed was changed and green feed added to the
ration. She continued sick, and died during the night, Novem-
ber 26. On the morning of November 27, Dr. John Spencer made
a post mortem examination and pronounced the trouble yellow
atrophy of the liver.
January 30, 1919, sow No. 1 farrowed six pigs, three of
which were dead when found. From all indications these pigs
were born dead. During the night of February 2, the three
remaining pigs disappeared. It. is supposed that the sow ate
On March 2, sow No. 2 farrowed 12 pigs. These were all
strong, well developed pigs.
March 8, sow No. 3 farrowed a few days earlier than was
expected and was left in the yard with sows No. 4 and No. 5 and
the boar. The pigs disappeared, and it is believed that the other
sows ate them.
On March 28, sows No. 4 and No. 5 farrowed eight pigs each.
These were all good, strong, well developed pigs.
During this entire test, these sows were given no other feed
except as stated above. No green feed was given at any time.
From these results it would hardly be fair to condemn the velvet
beans as a feed for brood sows. However, there is some evidence
of suspicion. These same sows will be kept on this experiment
for another year.
State papers please copy.