Quiz 29: Feeding and Managing Swine


The production of swine takes place in different phases. These are breeding, gestation, farrowing, nursery, growing and finishing. Each of these phases takes place in different type of housing. The different phases are as explained below: Breeding : It is done in an area ear marked only for breeding. The young female pigs (Gilt) are kept in a group. Sometimes they are placed individually also. For the mating to take place a boar is also kept in close vicinity to the Gilts. The Boar is also sexually matured. On noticing the Gilt or Sow in its estrus (heat), the Boar is let into the stall or pen for mating to take place. One Boar is used to breed at least 20 Gilts. If the numbers of Gilts to be mated are more in number, the producer goes for artificial insemination. Gestation : The period after fertilization to farrowing is called gestation period. This period varies for different animals. In a pig (Sow) it is exactly 115 days. It is taken as 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days approximately. At this stage pregnant Sow is kept singly in the stall. The stall is not very spacious. It allows very little movement. A Sow goes through lot of stress and frustration. This is because it has no control on the environment around it. Also, the Sows lack the ability to express important natural responses socially. Farrowing : Just when the producer can sense a birth the Sow is moved to another enclosure meant for farrowing. The process giving birth is called farrowing in swine. In 80% of the cases the farrowing happens within 6 hours. About 18% of the Sows might take 6-12 hours. In very rare cases 12-17 hours are required for farrowing. The size of the litter is usually 10-12 piglets. Sows give 2 or 3 litters in one year. Nursing : Piglets feed on the Sow for about 4 weeks before they are weaned suddenly. After weaning the piglets are taken to a nursery. In the nursery the piglets are segregated as per their weight and kept in the pen till they are 8-10 weeks old. They are fed on water and solid feeds. The temperature is maintained at 24 0 C -30 0 C as they are prone to cold chills. Growing : This stage commences after the stay in nursery is completed. When they are 10 weeks old they are grouped according to their size and separated. They are put on high energy food. This feed is provided till they attain weight as per market standards. Finishing : A maximum of 6 months are required for a pig to attain the required market weight. After gaining the market weight (115-125 kgs) they are taken to a slaughter house for getting slaughtered. In the slaughter house the carcass is processed and packed for retail shops. The public buys the pork from the retailers.

There are four main types of swine operations historically. These operations are as mentioned below: 1) Farrow to finish 2) Farrow to feeder pig production 3) Feeder pig finishing 4) Farrow to weaner Each of these operations is different in its own way. The goals and objectives are different in each operation. The working of each operation is as discussed below. Farrow to finish operation : In this kind of operation the breeding, farrowing and feeding of the litters takes place on the same farm. They are fed till they gain a market weight of 280 pounds. The duration for this entire process, from farrowing to finishing takes 10 months. In these 10 months, 6 months are given for raising and 4 months for both breeding and gestation. There is a requirement of more money and labor in this operation. Farrow to feeder operation : In this operation, after farrowing the pigs are fed for short time after weaning. They are fed till they gain a post weaning weight 30-60 pounds. This operation does not need a great infrastructure in terms of money, feed and labor. This operation is like a foundation for the 'farrow to finish operation'. Feeder to finish operation: These are those operations which buy the pigs when they are 30-60 pounds. Thereafter they are fed till they attain the market weight of 280 pounds. This operation need not take any long term commitment. The overhead expenditure and labor costs are very minimal in this operation. In this system the farmer has an advantage of using homegrown grains to feed the pigs. The operation can gain returns from the manure selling it as a fertilizer. However, the producer should buy the feeder pigs from reliable source. They should be of superior quality and have good health. Farrow to weaner operation : In this operation, the pigs are handled only till they attain their weaning age. After reaching the weaning age they are sold or moved to another site.

The multisite rearing system was started in the 1980s. Multisite rearing can also be termed as isolated or segregate production. Due to changes in production systems many new diseases have cropped after the multisite rearing started. img Breeding, gestation and farrowing happen at the same site. The other phases are isolated are carried out at a different site. The system was introduced with an idea to decrease the spread of diseases. It was observed that pathogens that existed in one site were not seen in the other sites. Sometimes, there was a danger of herd depopulation due to an epidemic. Hence, the multisite rearing system was started. In addition to controlling diseases, the multisite rearing helped in increasing growth rate and producing lean muscle.

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