Livestock Management (pig)


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In today’s class, we will be talking about livestock management (pig and cattle). Enjoy the class!

Livestock Management (pig)

Livestock Management (pig)


Management of a monogastric animal (pigs)

  • Terms used in pigs management
  • Breeds of pigs
  • Characteristics of pigs
  • System of rearing pigs
  • Housing, feeding and hygiene
  • Management of pigs

Pigs are non-ruminant animals in the genus, within even-toed ungulate family Suidae. They are primarily reared for meat.

Terms used in pigs management

  1. Boar: a mature male pig
  2. Sow: a mature female pig
  3. Piglet: young or baby pig farrowed
  4. Barrow: a castrated male pig
  5. Pork: pig’s meat
  6. In-sow: pregnant sow
  7. Dry sow: a sow that is not pregnant
  8. Fatteners: pigs reared for meat
  9. Farrowing: the act of parturition in pigs
  10. Lard: pig fat
  11. Gilt: a mature female pig that has not reproduced or has only reproduced once

Breeds of pigs

  1. Hampshire
  2. Yorkshire (Large white)
  3. Poland china
  4. Landrace
  5. Berkshire
  6. Large black
  7. West African dwarf
  8. Duroc

Breeds Of Pigs

Characteristics of pigs
  1. Pork is a good source of protein
  2. It has a short gestation period of 114 days ( 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days)
  3. Pigs are prolific animals, it farrows twice a year with 8-14 piglets per litter.
  4. Have an excellent dressing percentage (the ratio of meat to bone is very high)
  5. Excellently converts feed to meat
  6. Matures quickly (6 – 9 months)
  7. They are polyestrous (they can breed at any time of the year)
  8. Their salvage value is high

Systems of rearing pigs

  • Extensive system:

This is a system in which pigs are allowed to move out and fend for themselves. The system is not capital intensive. The animals are exposed to adverse weather condition. They are exposed to disease and parasite infestation. Advantage of this system includes a low cost of labour, low capital requirement, reduced feeding cost, the spread of disease is reduces etc. The disadvantage of this system includes increased exposure to disease-causing agents, increased risk of theft, exposure of animals to adverse weather conditions, no monitoring of animals, production is relatively low.

  • Semi-intensive system:

In this system, housing is provided for the pigs and they are allowed to move out to feed on natural vegetation. They are housed in a fenced compound with a wallow place where they can cool their body temperature. The system is less capital intensive but labour requirement, diseases and parasite infestation are slightly high. Concentrate feed is offered to the animals.

  • Intensive system:

In this system, pigs are confined within a building and they are not allowed to move out of the compound. They are reared in pens. Necessary materials such as feeds, water, medications are provided for them. They are protected from adverse weather condition but the system is capital intensive and the growth rate is very high.

Housing of pigs

Pigs are housed in pens. Pens should be sited far from residential areas because of their odour and noises. The house should be made of low walls with concrete floors which allow for a free flow of air. The floor should be hard and slope towards the drain for easy cleaning. The floor should be slightly rough to prevent slippery of pigs. The roof should be made of asbestos for easy absorption of heat. Feed trough, water trough and water bath should be provided.


A balanced diet should be offered to pigs. They should be well fed but not overfed to prevent excessive fat deposition. Breeders mash should be fed to breeders. Flushing which is the intake of the gilt or sows to produce more eggs should be done 7-10 days before breeding and maintained until the animal is bred. Pregnant or in-sow should not be overfed so as to prevent excessive deposition leading to small litter size. A laxative diet should be given to pregnant animals to aid easy parturition and lactation. Creep feed should be given to piglets as from two weeks of age to promote rapid growth. Creep feeding is feeding piglet separate from the dam (the feed is either pelleted or crumbled). Weaners diet should be given to weaners from about 14 weeks at the rate of 1kg / pig/day and 2.5litres of water. During the fattening stage, fatteners mash should be given to pigs until they reach a market weight of 60-90kg at 7months.


  1. The pens should be regularly cleaned by scrubbing the floor.
  2. The pens should be regularly disinfected to prevent germs.
  3. The feeding and water trough should be cleaned to prevent contamination.
  4. They should be de-wormed at regular interval.
  5. They should be vaccinated against diseases.

Management of pigs

The management of pigs from breeding to finishing is discussed under 3 headings.

  • Breeding to farrowing:

Breeders are housed in the breeders’ house. Boar and gilt should be at least 8months old before they are bred. The gilt must have at least 12 spaced functional teats. Gilt or sow is made to mate in the second day of heat and the next mating done 24 hours later.

The gilt should be taken to farrowing house 3 to 4 days before parturition.

  • Birth to weaning:

Heat is provided for the piglets to prevent cold. The middle tooth is cut off to prevent injury to the mother’s teats and other piglets while fighting.

The first dose of iron dextran injection is given to piglets at 2-3 days of age while the second dose is given 2-3 weeks later to prevent baby pig anaemia.

Male piglets not needed for breeding are castrated at 2 weeks of age. They are ear-notched for the purpose of identification and weaned at 42 days.

  • Weaning to finishing:

Weaners are fed with weaner’s mash and fattener’s mash a few weeks later. Drugs and vaccines should be provided. They should be allowed to exercise their body to prevent fat build-up.

Wallow place should be provided since they are non-sweating animals.

Fatteners reach market weight at about 5-6 months of age depending on management and nutrition.

Parasites and diseases of pigs

The greatest enemy of animal production is parasite and disease, it has no good, all bad is what comes from it. To this end, farmers must ensure they put things such as

  1. Effective management
  2. Adequate nutrition
  3. Proper hygiene and sanitation
  4. Well-designed housing

in place to save guard their investment.

External parasites include mange, mites, ticks, lice, flea all these can be controlled by spraying their post with pesticide regularly or dipping them in insecticide solution.

Internal parasites are roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), whipworm (trichuriasis), nodular worm (oesophagostomum app), kidney worm (stepphanurus dentatus), lungworm (metastrongylus app), tapeworm (taenia solium). They can be controlled by giving animals broad-spectrum anthelmintics and dewormers, timely cleaning of graces from pig houses.

Common diseases in pigs

  • African swine fever:

This is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus and likely transmitted by a tick. It is characterized by high fever, loss of appetite, depression, weak and uncoordinated movement, reddening of the skin around ears, nose, and hind legs, abortion in pregnant sow, respiratory disorder (laboured breathing, nasal and ocular discharge), and death within 48 hours.

This disease has no treatment yet but can be avoided by obtaining stock from ASF free farms, slaughter infected pigs and disinfect pig houses thoroughly with 10% solution of caustic soda and keep the pen empty for about 2months

  • Swine erysipelas:

Also referred to as diamond skin disease is caused by bacteria (Erysipelothrixrhusiopathiae) that could come in contact with healthy animals via infected soil or faeces from infected animals. It manifests through fever (pyrexia), unwillingness to stand, swellings in joints, lameness. It can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin.

  • Hypoglycaemia:

Also known as baby pig disease manifests mostly in piglets and could be very deadly. Symptoms include shivering, standing hairs, weakness, and fall in temperature, twisted neck and uncoordinated eyeballs. Death could occur within 2days. Provide warmth to pigs farrowing in the cold season to prevent this disease and give diseased animal glucose injection.


State two advantages and two disadvantages each of i) Extensive system  ii) Intensive system of rearing pigs


In our next class, we will be talking more about Livestock Management.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

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