April18 , 2024

♦️Key Factors to Consider in successful pig production and management 



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♦️Key Factors to Consider in successful pig production and management 

Pig production is the systematic rearing of pig breeds on scientifically based management principles for economic benefit. The main objectives of pig production are to provide consumers with pig meat and related products and to generate income for farmers.

Pig production plays a significant role in the livestock industry, providing an important source of protein and other valuable products. The systematic approach to pig rearing ensures that the pigs are healthy and well-cared for, which in turn leads to better quality products and higher yields. The focus on scientific principles and efficient management helps to reduce waste and increase profitability for farmers.


Read also: Four things to know about sustainability in pig farming 

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a) . At Farrowing:

Care must be taken to ensure that the piglets are not crushed or leaned on by the sow. Thus, farrowing rails are a must in the farrowing pen and should be 20 to 26 cm from the wall and the same distance from the floor. They should also be made of pipes. A pig brooder should be placed in one of the corners to provide heat and draw the piglets away from their mother.

Proper management before weaning is important in order to reduce the mortality rate and achieve a fast growth rate in the piglets.

1. Navel cord care:

Navel cord care is performed to prevent navel infection. The procedure involves grasping the piglet over the shoulder or back and cutting off the navel cord, leaving approximately 1 inch. Following this, an iodine tincture is applied to the navel.

2. Iron supplementation:

The purpose of this is to prevent anemia in piglets. There are several sources that can be utilized for iron supplementation in piglets, including placing red soil in the pen, administering iron tablets, rubbing an iron solution on the sow’s teats, or utilizing iron injections.

3. Needle teeth clipping:

The purpose of the procedure is to prevent piglets from biting the teats of the sow. To clip the needle teeth, the piglets are restrained, and the mouth is forced open using fingers. A sharp plier is then used to cut off the teeth as close as possible to the gum while ensuring not to injure the gums. After working on each litter of piglets, the piglets are turned to access the teeth on the other side of the head, and the pliers are disinfected.

4. Docking:

The purpose of the procedure is to prevent tail biting. During the process, the piglets are restrained and their tails are cut off using a sharp, sterile knife. The cut is made leaving about half an inch from the place where the tail joins the body. After working with each litter of piglets, the wound and knife are disinfected to ensure cleanliness and prevent any potential infections.

5. Identification:

The purpose of the procedure is to aid in record keeping. Piglets can be identified by giving them names or numbers using tattoos, ear tags, or ear notching. Ear notching should be performed within the first 3 days of life, while tattooing can be done on the ears or backs of white-colored pigs.

The procedure for ear notching involves holding a piglet by the head and using a sharp knife or razor blade to remove a V-shaped amount of tissue from the edge of the ear. Afterward, the wound is treated with iodine, and the knife is disinfected after working with each litter of piglets.

6. Castration

The purpose of castration is to render male pigs incapable of fertilizing sows or gilts. It is performed for several reasons: to prevent undesirable males from breeding, to ensure the animals are docile and easy to handle, to enhance the quality of pork, to promote faster growth, and prevent unpleasant odors. Castration is ideally carried out before the pigs reach three weeks of age.

7. Weaning

The purpose of the procedure is to introduce soft food to piglets. Weaning typically occurs at 8 weeks and is a gradual process spanning several days. The sow’s interaction with the piglets is gradually reduced, and the piglets are provided with high-protein feeds containing a nutrient ratio of 1 part protein to 4 parts carbohydrates. They are kept in the same intensive systems, supplemented with vegetable waste and by-products, while maintaining a high level of protein.

8. Nose Ringing

The purpose of this procedure is to prevent piglets from excessively uprooting crops and burrowing into the soil. The method involves placing a ring in the folded part of the snout, which inflicts pain when the piglets attempt to uproot objects. It is recommended to perform this procedure within the first weeks after farrowing.

8. Vaccination

The purpose of this is to protect piglets against hog cholera, anthrax, and piglet anemia.

Read also: Three ways livestock farming is becoming more sustainable


In conclusion, pig production is a vital component of the livestock industry, providing consumers with high-quality pig meat and related products while generating income for farmers. The systematic approach to pig rearing based on scientific principles and efficient management practices ensures healthy pigs, reduces waste and increases profitability.

When it comes to the care and management of piglets, various procedures are essential to promote their well-being and growth. Navel cord care, iron supplementation, needle teeth clipping, docking, identification, castration, weaning, nose ringing, and vaccination are crucial steps in ensuring the health and development of piglets.

Selecting the right pig breeds for commercial pig breeding programs is crucial for maximizing productivity. Crossbred pigs, with their high breed vigor, often outperform purebred pigs and offer numerous advantages.

Proper management of pregnant sows and gilts is crucial up to the time of farrowing. Adequate housing, exercise, and feeding play a significant role in ensuring the sow’s health and successful delivery of healthy piglets. The different stages of feeding during gestation address the sow’s nutritional requirements and promote optimal development of the embryos.

Farrowing time is a critical period when the sow gives birth to piglets. Preparing a clean and open area for farrowing helps the sow acclimate to the new surroundings and build antibodies that provide disease resistance to the piglets.

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By Dr. Mwato Moses

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