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AI in pigs is now regularly used around the world. The advantage for small pig breeders is that it avoids the costs and inconvenience of keeping a boar.
The time may come when you are faced with having to kill a pig, whether slaughtering for food or euthanising an old or sick animal. This article explains what you need to know.
Most gilts (young females) show their first oestrus between 170-220 days old, which is usually around 90kg liveweight. Age and not weight limit puberty in modern strains of fast growing pigs fed high energy diets.
Pigs are den-living, home-loving individuals with a poor herding response. They dislike being moved, especially from dark into bright light. In panic they will scatter and race back to their den (pen) -even when it’s burning down!
Housing costs money, and to reduce costs, many pig farmers build their own, ending up with eyesores that annoy and stink out the neighbours. The rooting and wallowing of pigs around their accommodation does not help the scene. It’s important to decide what stock will need housing and what sort of housing they’ll need.
Mixing pigs can cause a lot of stress, especially if they start fighting. Mix 3-4 sows and their litters before weaning.
Pregnancy in pigs is 115 days (3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days) with a range of 110-120 days. Pigs will breed all year round, but if kept outside their fertility drops in the darker months of winter.
Boars reach maturity around 6 months of age although this can depend on feeding levels and management. Usually they are not used for service until 7-8 months old. A boar courts a female by chasing her around, nuzzling her head, flanks and genital area, sometimes drinking her urine. He frequently pushes or leans on her to see if she is approaching standing heat.
NZPork, the organisation funded by New Zealand pork producers has important information for all owners of pigs. Please read this carefully and take very good care to ensure that any risk to your pigs, and therefore New Zealand’s pig herd, is minimised.
Pigs should be handled quietly to avoid stress. Electric prodders, plastic pipes and dogs must not be used on pigs.
If you have pigs on your lifestyle farm and they are well fed with a comfortable free-range lifestyle, they are likely to be relatively healthy and content. But there are a few health problems you should know about. They are the ones that are most likely to occur, and knowing a bit about them and taking steps to prevent them is the best health insurance you can have.
It’s tempting to think that you can make money from pigs by feeding them kitchen scraps and garbage. Pigs will love this diet, but they won’t grow and reproduce as well as when fed correctly balanced diets.
Profit comes from keeping a productive sow that regularly weans good litters that grow well to slaughter weight with no deaths. That’s the main objective. It’s also important to make sure pigs have a friendly temperament and have no physical defects.
If you have pigs on your lifestyle farm and they are well fed with a comfortable free-range lifestyle, they are likely to be relatively healthy and content. But there are a few health problems you should know about They are the ones that are most likely to occur, and knowing a bit about them and taking steps to prevent them is the best health insurance you can have.