Hog Sloppers and Calf Weaners

Indiana collector adds 'place settings' and 'behavior modifiers' to his farm collection.

| March 2004

Ron Moore collects hog oilers. For him, expanding that collection to include cast iron hog pans and stoppers is as natural as, say, a tractor collector adding a few implements to his collection.

'They show the whole story,' Ron says. Ron, who lives in Bloomington, Ind., has nearly 100 hog oilers. Cast pans and stoppers, though, are harder to come by. Just as tractors and engines were scrapped during World War II metal drives, so were hog pans and stoppers. Later still, when old barns were razed, 'the pans and stoppers went off in the hauler with everything else,' he explains.

Relics of the past

Cast pans and stoppers are relics of the days before commercially produced hog feed existed. In those days - in addition to table scraps - hogs were fed leftover whey from cheese production and dregs from the cream separator.

Hogs were also fed a liquid commonly referred to as 'gray shorts.' 'I remember my grandpa mixing a brown powder with water, even in the '50s,' Ron recalls.

Ron didn't grow up on a farm, but he spent a lot of time at his grandparents' farm as a boy. 'They raised dairy cattle and hogs,' he says. 'My dad was raised on the farm, but he got out as quick as he could.'

Ron's early visits to the farm, combined with a career working as an animal husbandry operator for a pharmaceutical manufacturer, dovetailed into a hobby. Although Ron downplays his collection - 'I don't have a great collection, but I have a good start,' he says - Ron has become quite knowledgeable about hog equipment.