Livestock rearing is an integral part of our country. Among the various livestock species, pig rearing is the most potential source of meat production and is very popular among the NE states. Pigs are efficient convertors of feeds next to broilers. On the other hand the rapid increase in the population specifically in the last decade have made unemployment, an important problem of the society. Pig rearing will not only provide employment to the unemployed youth but also to the seasonally employed farmers in the rural villages.
The advantages of pig rearing over other livestock rearing are as follows –
1. The people of NE are fond of pork. The piggery has now carved a niche for itself in North and NE states. So, there is good demand for pork in NE. There is also good demand for export of pig products like sausage, bacon, ham etc.
2. Pigs have a shorter generation interval. They can produce 6-12 piglets in each furrowing.
3. Pigs can attain a live body weight of 90 kg in 6-8 months.
4. Pigs have good dressing percentage that ranges from 65-80 %.
5. Pig rearing requires small investment on buildings and equipments. So, it is economically suitable for the rural farmers.
6. The rearing of pig requires less labour. Even the female member of the family can look after the pigs.
7. The pigs can utilize a wide variety of feeds e.g. grains, forages, damaged feeds and garbages and convert them into nutritious meat. So, there is less expenditure on feed.
8. Pork has a good energy value and high fat content and is among the favourite dishes in NE. It is also rich in vitamins like thiamine, niacin, riboflavin etc.
9. If the pigs are scientifically reared and if they are properly vaccinated they are generally resistant to diseases.
Housing management for pigs :
Depending on the different breeds and categories of pig there are different housing patterns e.g. boar sty, dry sow, gilt sty etc. The general housing guidelines are as follows —
1. The house should give adequate protections against direct sun light and rain as pigs are very sensitive to heat and humidity. There should be proper ventilation so that pigs can get fresh air.
2. The design should be such that all animals are observable easily from outside and the requirement of labour is less.
3. Feed troughs should be placed along the front so that the pigs can feed from outside. The height of the feed troughs should be such that the pigs can take the feed without any difficulty.
4. In rural areas simple low cost houses constructed with locally available materials should be preferred. So, that it is economically benefited to the farmers in the rural areas.
Feeding Management for pigs :
Feeding is the most important part of pig farming in India. Feeding accounts over 75% of the total cost of pig rearing. Growth, production and animal health depends on feeding high quality and nutritious feed. Pigs consume more feed per unit body weight than calves, chicken or lamb. So therefore it is very important that the best use is made of feeds at the most economic level. The basic ingredients of pig feed are oat, grains, maize, wheat, rice, sorghum and other millets. Along with the basic ingredients some protein supplements like oil cakes, fishmeal, meat meal, vitamins, mineral supplements can be given. The pig should be allowed to browse in the pasture and feed fresh green legumes. Pigs are also more efficient feed converter which results in faster gain per unit body weight. They should be given sufficient amount of clean and fresh water along with feeding nutritious feed. Pigs should be provided well balanced diet low in fibre. Green succulent fodders like berseem, lucerne and cow pea can be given.
Pigs breeding process is very easy and simple. The main aim of swine breeding is to maximize the efficiency of production .The traits which are most important production of swine are:
(i) The number of pigs reared, which depends on– Number of pigs born per litter and number of litters born per year.
(ii) Economy of production that depends on growth rate and number of litters born per year.
Generally, both male and female pigs become suitable for breeding within their 8 months of age. Within this time they reach about 100 to 120 kg. The heat period of female pig lengths for 2 to 3 days. First day during the heat period of gilts is the best time to breed. And second day is best for sow. A sow become suitable for breeding again after 2 to 10 days of weaning. The gestation period of pigs is not more than 115 days. A sow can give birth of piglets twice a year and about 8 to 12 piglets each time.
Care & Management of pigs:
Pigs should always be taken good care so that we can keep them free from diseases. Feed and water should be protected from contamination of manure and urine. They should be provided dry, clean, ventilated accommodation. Extra care of the sow during lactation period should be taken and should be feed nutritious feed. Breeding boar, piglets and the pregnant sows should also be taken care properly and feed properly. Good management practices should be followed to prevent piglet anemia in piglet. The male piglets which are not required for breeding are generally castrated at 2-3 weeks of age. Conventional weaning is done at 8 weeks depending upon the management status of the pigs. Pigs should be vaccinated against swine fever, swine erysipelas, swine influenza etc to keep them healthy. Diseased animals should be segregated. Regular deworming should be done. Pigs should be kept in calm and quiet place.
(References are available on request)
~Samiran Borah, 4th Year, B.V.Sc. & A.H.,Lakhimpur College of Veterinary Science,
Assam Agricultural University, Joyhing, North Lakhimpur, Assam-787051, India.
Email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell: +91-9954040047.