Pig Management Practice

Breeding Care

Pigs are naturally prolific, and two farrowings per year should be planned by using optimal management conditions. For maximum fertility, one boar must be kept for every ten sows. Breed the animals during their peak heat period (i.e. 12 to 24 hours of heat).

Care During Pregnancy

One week before farrowing, pay special attention to pregnant sows by providing adequate space, feed, and water. The sows and farrowing pens should be disinfected three to four days before the expected date of farrowing, and the sows should be placed in the farrowing pen after properly bedding it.

Care of Piglets

  • Provide guard rails to protect newly born piglets.
  • As soon as the navel cord is cut with a sharp knife, treat / disinfect it with iodine tincture.
  • Feed mothers' milk along with creep feed for the first 6-8 weeks.
  • Protect the piglets from extreme weather, especially during the first two months.
  • Needle teeth should be clipped as soon as possible after birth.
  • Vaccinate the piglets according to the recommended schedule.
  • Iron supplementation is required to prevent piglet anemia.
  • Piglets intended for sale as breeding stock must be properly reared.
  • Male piglets not selected for breeding should be castrated, preferably at the age of 3-4 weeks, to prevent boar odor in cooked meat, allowing for the production of high-quality meat.
  • Additional feed needs of a lactating sow must be met to ensure proper nursing of all piglets born.

Care and management of sow:

Sow care and management are critical because they are kept in the herd primarily for breeding. Breeding problems can be minimized with proper management and feeding. Sows must be given special attention in order for the piglets to be delivered normally and nursed properly.

Farrowing Sow and Litter:

Clean and disinfect the farrowing pen with a 2% phenyl lotion solution and leave it empty for a week. The pregnant female should be dewormed 2-3 weeks prior to farrowing and before being admitted to the farrowing pen. Spray with an external parasiticide (1 percent malathion/cythion solution, butox. 0.05 percent).  Scrub the under surface, sides, interdigital space and udder to remove dirt, eggs of parasites, disease germs etc. with soap and water just before moving into the farrowing pen.

  • Move the clean animal to the clean pen 10 days before farrowing.
  • Provide light bedding of chopped straw 2-3 days before farrowing.
  • Appearance of milk in teats when pressed indicates the approach of farrowing time.
  • Attend the farrowing throughout. It may last up to 24 hours.
  • Wipe the piglets clean with towel/straw. Disinfect the naval cord with tincture of iodine. Normal healthy piglets suckle teats within 10-30 minutes. Help small piglets to suckle.
  • Placenta, dead piglets, soiled bedding etc. may be removed and buried in time with least delay. The placenta will be expelled generally within a short while.
  • Provide 50 mg iron (Imferon 1 ml) on the second day intra-muscularly to prevent piglet anaemia. Oral administration of iron solution (1 g Ferrous sulphate in 25 ml of water) 1 ml per piglet once a week can be tried. A second injection may be given at 5 weeks of age.
  • Keep the farrowing pen warm, dry and clean.
  • Needle teeth may be removed carefully.

The time taken for expulsion of litter vary from 1 hour to 5 hours. The interval between the birth of the first and that of successive piglets vary from a few minutes to 3 hours. About 30 per cent of piglets are usually born in posterior presentation. Generally placenta is shed only after all the piglings are born. Expulsion of placenta is usually within 3 hours after expulsion of foetus. Piglets start suckling within 10-15 minutes after birth. Artificial heat may be provided by using an infrared lamp / ordinary electric bulb during cold and rainy season to avoid death due to chilling.

Breeding Management:

Once every 21 days, the sows go into heat. Good feeding and management induces heat (estrus), which facilitates breeding and results in larger litter sizes. Fish meal, in addition to grains. Skim milk or butter milk can be given 2-3 weeks before breeding to allow for a 200-300 gm/day body weight gain. Sows have an average gestation period of 112-115 days. A typical litter size is 8-10 piglets. Older sows as larger litter size with high birth weight.

Care during farrowing: The pregnant sow should be moved to a farrowing pen 3-4 days before farrowing to avoid disruptions and to allow her to adjust to her new surroundings. The forrowing pen should be dry, ventilated, and well-lit. In the farrowing pen, bedding should be provided.

Prior to farrowing, the sow's ration should be cut in half and should include a laxative ingredient such as wheat bran. The sow should be left alone while farrowing and may be assisted in an emergency. Piglets should be removed from a nervous sow and allowed to suckle under supervision. The piglets are dried with a cloth and placed in a warm enclosure pig brooder as soon as they are born.

Brood sows should be fed a well-balanced diet. Feeding should begin with small amounts of concentrate mixtures and laxatives such as wheat bran.

Suckling sow care and management: During the 8-week suckling period, a sow produces approximately 150-200 kg of milk. Because sow milk is more concentrated than cow milk, sows require more feed. Allow 1.5kg of feed for the sow and 0.5 kg of feed per piglet for a total ration of 5-6 kg. There may be plenty of Lucerne hay and succulent fodder available.

Care & Management of Boar:

The boar should be maintained in a separate pen. They should neither be overfed nor underfed, since both will affect its breeding capacity. It should be fleshy, and thrifty but not too fatty. The feed requirements include both the demands for maintenance and reproduction. During off-season the boar should be given plenty of grasses and legume hay and 2kg of concentrate mixture. An additional 0.5 kg of concentrate may be given 2 weeks prior to breeding season.

Boars should not be used for breeding until they are at least 8 months old. A young boar can handle 15-20 sows in a season, while an older boar can handle 25-45 sows. Before being fed, a boar can be allowed to serve. During the breeding season, only one service per day is permitted. During the breeding season, older sows may be used. Older sows can be used to breed younger boars.

Gilts Exposed to Boar

The boar should have free access to water, and the boar pen should be kept clean and dry. Dampness should be avoided at all costs. The boar should be scrubbed, washed, and kept clean on a daily basis. Boar lameness can be avoided by trimming the boar's feet on a regular basis. Bolt cutters can be used to remove boar tusks, preventing injuries to sows and attendants.

To avoid the risk of introducing disease into the farm, newly purchased boars should be kept separately for 2-3 weeks.

Care and management of piglets:
Care of newborn

  • The piglets are removed as they farrow and kept warm in the creep space until the farrowing process is completed.
  • To ensure that the breathing passage is clear, each piglet is cleaned of all mucous.
  • The navel card should be tied 2.5 cm away from the navel, the remaining portion should be removed hygienically, and the stumps should be painted with iodine.
  • After birth, piglets should be nursed. They nurse 8 to 10 times per day.
  • Piglets are born with four pairs of sharp teeth, two on each jaw, which can cause udder or teat injuries. As a result, these teeth should be clipped as soon as possible after birth.
  • Thumps (piglet anemia): Because sows' milk is deficient in iron and copper, piglets suffer from severe anemia. Piglets who are affected become weak, dyspeptic, and have digestive problems.


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