Systems of Pig Management

Pig Management

Backyard or Scavenging System

  • The pigs are left completely on their own to scavenge for food all the time. Usually the pigs are left to the compound of the owner and some form of supplementary feed either as family food leftovers or occasionally commercial pig feed is offered
  • Indigenous pig types are predominantly used because they are tolerant to low quality feeds and are resistant to some parasites such as ascaris
  • As might be expected, the growth rate and body condition of the pigs under the scavenging/backyard system of management are generally poor
  • The meat quality of the pigs kept under this system is poor
  • It is difficult to control the spread of diseases under this system and there will be high piglet morality caused by disease infections and other factors like malnutrition, predators, crushing and chilling.

Semi-Intensive System

  • This is the system practiced under situations varying from backyard/scavenging conditions to conditions similar to that of an intensive system
  • Commercial feed is commonly used as kitchen leftovers are not sufficient enough to sustain the requirements of the pigs.
  • The pigs are housed at night but are allowed to graze out. Farmers are usually able to keep about 20-30 pigs under this system of management
  • If this system is well managed, the performance of the pigs will be as well as those managed under intensive system
  • It requires plenty of land and pigs must be confined in fenced paddocks.

Intensive-Largescale Commercial System

Under this system,

  • Pigs are kept in total confinement
  • Herd size ranges from 50 sows and more
  • Commercial feed is used
  • There must be good husbandry practices with respect to feeding, hygiene, disease control and housing
  • The growth rate is fast, there is good feed conversion ratio, high sow reproductive efficiency and good quality carcass

Requirements for a commercial pig production enterprise

For proper management on the farm, the pigs should be separated into different units according to their age, and/or reproduction stages.

  • Breeding: these are the pigs that are mature enough and ready to mate and reproduce
  • Gestating: these are pigs that are pregnant
  • Farrowing: these are pigs that are about to give birth
  • Growers: these are the young pigs that have been weaned. They can be kept for fattening or replacement stock
  • Finishing: these are the growers that are nearing marketing for pork or bacon

Depending on the market situation, one can decide on one or more of the following enterprises

  • A furrow to finish operation: this is where the farmer rears piglets up to the age when the pigs are ready to be slaughtered for pork or bacon
  • Furrow to wean operation: this is a system where the farmer rears the piglets up to weaning and sells them to other farmers for breeding or fattening
  • Finishing pig operation:: in this system the farmer buys pigs which are almost ready for slaughter, gives them feed for purpose of attaining the required market weight and meat quality before they are slaughtered
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