Pigs | Breeds, Characteristics, Rearing, Feeding, Health, Diseases, Preventions

Management of Monogastric Animals (Pigs) Key Aspects of Pig Management   Introduction to Pigs: Pigs, belonging to the genus Sus within the Suidae family, are non-ruminant animals primarily raised for meat production.   Terms Used in Pig Management: Boar: Mature male pig Sow: Mature female pig Piglet: Young or baby pig Barrow: Castrated male pig […]

Management of Monogastric Animals (Pigs)

Key Aspects of Pig Management


Introduction to Pigs:

Pigs, belonging to the genus Sus within the Suidae family, are non-ruminant animals primarily raised for meat production.


Terms Used in Pig Management:

    1. Boar: Mature male pig
    2. Sow: Mature female pig
    3. Piglet: Young or baby pig
    4. Barrow: Castrated male pig
    5. In-sow: Pregnant sow
    6. Dry sow: Non-pregnant sow
    7. Fatteners: Pigs raised for meat
    8. Gilt: Mature female pig that has not reproduced or has only reproduced once


Breeds of Pigs:

1. Hampshire: Recognizable by their distinctive black body with a white belt around the front legs and shoulders, Hampshire pigs are known for their excellent meat quality and efficient feed conversion rates.

2. Yorkshire (Largewhite): This breed, often referred to simply as Yorkshire, is renowned for its prolificacy, maternal instincts, and lean meat production. They are characterized by their large frame, erect ears, and white coloration.

3. Poland China: Originating from the United States, Poland China pigs are recognized for their black bodies with white patches and floppy ears. They are valued for their fast growth rates and efficient feed conversion, making them popular in commercial swine production.

4. Landrace: Known for their long, lanky bodies, drooping ears, and white coloration, Landrace pigs are prized for their exceptional maternal qualities, prolificacy, and ability to produce lean meat.

5. Berkshire: Easily identifiable by their black bodies with white points, including distinctive white socks, Berkshire pigs are renowned for their flavorful, marbled meat. They are often favored by chefs and artisanal producers for their high-quality pork.

6. Large Black: As their name suggests, Large Black pigs are characterized by their large size and entirely black coloration. They are prized for their docile temperament, excellent foraging abilities, and flavorful meat.

7. West African Dwarf: This indigenous African breed is well-adapted to tropical climates and is typically small in size with a compact body. West African Dwarf pigs are valued for their resilience, adaptability, and ability to thrive in resource-limited environments.

8. Duroc: Known for their distinctive reddish-brown coloration, drooping ears, and muscular build, Duroc pigs are favored for their fast growth rates, efficient feed conversion, and flavorful meat with excellent marbling characteristics. They are often used in crossbreeding programs to improve meat quality and growth performance.

Characteristics of Pigs:

  1. Rich protein source
  2. Short gestation period of 114 days
  3. Prolific, farrowing twice a year with 8-14 piglets per litter
  4. High dressing percentage
  5. Efficient feed-to-meat conversion
  6. Quick maturation (6-9 months)
  7. Polyestrus (able to breed at any time)
  8. High salvage value


Systems of Rearing Pigs:

  1. Extensive System: Pigs roam freely, with low capital but higher disease risk.
  2. Semi-intensive System: Housing provided, natural vegetation feeding, less capital intensive.
  3. Intensive System: Confined pigs with controlled environment, capital intensive but high growth rate.


Housing of Pigs:

  1. Pens located away from residential areas
  2. Low-walled concrete floors for airflow
  3. Rough flooring to prevent slipping
  4. Asbestos roof for heat absorption
  5. Provision of feed and water troughs


Feeding of Pigs:

  1. Balanced diet to prevent excessive fat deposition
  2. Specialized feed for breeders, piglets, and fattening stages
  3. Adequate nutrition, avoiding overfeeding
  4. Creep feeding for piglets, laxative diet for pregnant animals


Health and Hygiene of Pigs:

  1. Regular cleaning and disinfection of pens
  2. Cleaning of feeding and water troughs
  3. Deworming at regular intervals
  4. Vaccination against diseases


Management Phases of Pigs:

  1. Breeding to Farrowing
  2. Birth to Weaning
  3. Weaning to Finishing


Parasites and Diseases in Pigs :

  1. External parasites controlled through regular spraying or dipping
  2. Internal parasites managed by broad-spectrum anthelmintics
  3. Common diseases include African Swine Fever, Swine Erysipelas, and Hypoglycemia

In the realm of pig farming, vigilance against parasites and diseases is paramount for maintaining herd health and productivity. An integrated approach is adopted to combat both external parasites, which dwell on the skin or fur of pigs, and internal parasites, which infest various organs within their bodies.

External parasites such as lice, mites, and ticks are diligently managed through routine spraying or dipping regimens. These treatments not only help to eradicate existing infestations but also serve as preventive measures to thwart future outbreaks. By employing effective parasiticides and adhering to recommended application frequencies, pig farmers can ensure the comfort and well-being of their livestock while safeguarding against economic losses caused by parasitic infestations.

Internally, pigs may fall prey to a spectrum of parasites, including roundworms, tapeworms, and flukes, which can wreak havoc on their gastrointestinal and respiratory systems if left unchecked. To address this threat, broad-spectrum anthelmintic medications are administered at strategic intervals. These potent agents target a wide range of parasitic species, effectively purging them from the pigs’ bodies and restoring intestinal health. Regular fecal testing and veterinary consultations aid in devising tailored deworming protocols suited to the specific needs and conditions of each pig herd.

Despite stringent preventive measures, the specter of infectious diseases looms over pig populations, necessitating constant vigilance and swift action to mitigate outbreaks. Among the most notorious afflictions is African Swine Fever, a highly contagious viral disease with devastating consequences for pig farming economies worldwide. Rigorous biosecurity measures, including restricted access to infected areas and strict sanitation protocols, are enforced to prevent the introduction and spread of this virulent pathogen. Additionally, vaccination campaigns may be employed where feasible to bolster herd immunity and minimize the risk of transmission.

Swine Erysipelas, caused by the bacterium *Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae*, poses another significant health threat to pigs, manifesting as acute septicemia or chronic arthritis and endocarditis. Prompt diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics are essential for curtailing the progression of this disease and preventing its dissemination within the herd. Implementing robust biosecurity measures, maintaining optimal hygiene standards, and closely monitoring pig health are instrumental in containing outbreaks and preserving the integrity of the pig farming enterprise.

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can afflict pigs of all ages, particularly piglets, leading to weakness, lethargy, and even death if left unaddressed. Proper nutrition management, including providing access to high-energy feeds and ensuring adequate colostrum intake for newborn piglets, is crucial for averting hypoglycemic episodes. Additionally, vigilant monitoring of blood glucose levels, especially during periods of stress or illness, enables early intervention and supportive care to stabilize affected pigs and prevent complications.

In conclusion, the effective management of parasites and diseases in pig farming hinges on a multifaceted approach encompassing preventive measures, timely intervention, and meticulous husbandry practices. By prioritizing animal welfare, implementing robust biosecurity protocols, and fostering collaboration between farmers and veterinary professionals, pig producers can mitigate the impact of health challenges and sustainably optimize the productivity and profitability of their operations.


Preventing Diseases in Pigs:

Preventing diseases in pigs necessitates a multifaceted approach, encompassing effective management practices, optimal nutrition strategies, stringent hygiene protocols, and well-designed housing facilities.

Effective management involves vigilant monitoring of the pigs’ health status, prompt identification of any signs of illness, and swift implementation of appropriate interventions. This includes regular health assessments by qualified veterinarians, as well as the establishment of biosecurity measures to minimize the risk of disease introduction and spread within the herd.

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in bolstering the pigs’ immune system and overall health. A balanced diet tailored to meet their nutritional requirements is essential for optimizing their resistance to diseases and promoting robust growth and development.

Maintaining impeccable hygiene standards within the pig production environment is imperative for disease prevention. This entails thorough cleaning and disinfection of facilities, equipment, and personnel, as well as the implementation of strict biosecurity protocols to prevent the ingress of pathogens onto the farm premises.

Furthermore, the design and maintenance of housing facilities should prioritize the pigs’ welfare and minimize stress, as stressed animals are more susceptible to diseases. Adequate ventilation, temperature control, and space allocation are essential aspects of housing management to ensure the pigs’ comfort and well-being.

In addition to these general preventive measures, specific control measures tailored to the prevalence of particular diseases should be implemented. This may involve sourcing pigs from accredited disease-free farms or implementing stringent quarantine protocols for incoming stock to prevent the introduction of pathogens into the herd.

By diligently implementing these preventive measures, pig producers can safeguard the health and welfare of their animals, minimize the risk of disease outbreaks, and optimize the productivity and profitability of their operations.


Common Diseases in Pigs:

  1. African Swine Fever: Highly contagious, no treatment, prevention through obtaining stock from ASF-free farms and thorough disinfection.
  2. Swine Erysipelas: Caused by bacteria, treated with antibiotics.
  3. Hypoglycemia: Baby pig disease, preventable through warmth provision in cold seasons and glucose injection for diseased animals.1. Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS): A viral disease causing reproductive issues in sows and respiratory problems in pigs of all ages. Management focuses on vaccination and biosecurity measures.2. Porcine Parvovirus (PPV): A viral infection causing reproductive failure, including stillbirths and mummified fetuses. Vaccination of sows is a common preventive measure.

    3. Swine Influenza: Caused by influenza A viruses, leading to respiratory symptoms such as coughing and fever. Vaccination and biosecurity measures are used for prevention.

    4. Porcine Circovirus Associated Disease (PCVAD): Associated with multiple clinical syndromes, including respiratory, enteric, and reproductive disorders. Management includes vaccination and good hygiene practices.

    5. Transmissible Gastroenteritis (TGE): A highly contagious viral disease causing severe diarrhea and dehydration in pigs of all ages. Prevention involves vaccination and strict biosecurity measures.

    6. Porcine Dermatitis and Nephropathy Syndrome (PDNS): A disease characterized by skin lesions and kidney inflammation, often leading to sudden death in affected pigs. Management involves supportive care and monitoring for secondary infections.

    7. Porcine Respiratory Disease Complex (PRDC): A multifactorial respiratory disease involving various pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites, leading to pneumonia and decreased productivity. Prevention includes vaccination, good ventilation, and reducing stressors.

    8. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED): A highly contagious viral disease causing severe diarrhea and dehydration, particularly in piglets. Prevention involves strict biosecurity measures and ensuring proper sanitation.

    9. Sarcoptic Mange: A parasitic skin disease caused by Sarcoptes scabiei mites, leading to intense itching, hair loss, and skin lesions. Treatment includes acaricidal medications and environmental disinfection.

    10. Atrophic Rhinitis: A bacterial disease characterized by inflammation and atrophy of the nasal turbinates, leading to sneezing, nasal discharge, and reduced growth rates. Prevention involves vaccination and good hygiene practices.

    These diseases represent some of the common health concerns in pig farming. Effective disease management strategies, including vaccination, biosecurity measures, and regular veterinary care, are essential for maintaining herd health and productivity.

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