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Chester White

The Chester White is a breed of domestic pig which originated in Chester County, Pennsylvania. It was formerly known as the Chester County White. It was first developed around 1815-1818, using strains of large, white pigs common to the Northeast U.S. and a white boar imported from John Russell Duke of Bedford, Bedfordshire county, England, referred to as the Woburn breed. In 1848, two breeders at a county fair, one from Delaware County and the other from Chester County, showed their breeds. The judge decided to use the name Chester County White. "County" was later dropped, and the breed became known as Chester White. Usually, the body of the Chester White Pig are totally white, and the ears of the breed are medium in size and droopy. The Chester White Pig breed is one of the more prolific breeds, and the female Chester White pigs are generally more caring and maternal than other breeds.

By 1884 a breed association had been officially formed, but competing organizations continued to appear into the early 20th century, sometimes championing individual strains.The International Ohio Improved Chester Swine Record Association was formed in 1891 and incorporated in 1895, in Yates County, New York. The breed was officially named the Ohio Improved Chester, with OIC commonly used. The association implemented the use of ear tags as early as 1895.

In 1913, the American Chester White Record Association (1885), and the Standard Chester White Record Association (1890), combined to form the Chester White Swine Record Association. In 1930, all breed organizations were consolidated under the Chester White Swine Record Association, an act which aided the spread of the breed into the rest of the country. Some historians conjecture that Chinese pigs were also added to the mix. The Certified Pedigreed Swine Association (CPS) was formed in 1997, to combine the records of the Chester White, Poland China, and Spotted, into a central organization with individual state organizations being members.

The Chester White is a versatile breed suited to both intensive and extensive husbandry. Though not as popular as the Duroc, Yorkshire, or Hampshire, the Chester White is actively used in commercial crossbreeding operations for pork. The Chester White is the most durable of the white breeds; it can gain as much as 1.36lbs (0.62 kg) a day and gain 1lb (0.45 kg) for every 3lbs (1.4 kg) of grain it is fed. Their pale colour leaves Chester Whites prone to sunburn; they must be given access to shade in the summer.

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