Are you tired of constantly buying expensive and not always high-quality meat at the market or in the store, and raising pigs on your own seems an increasingly attractive idea? If on your site there is a place for a pigsty, and you are ready to devote time to breeding pigs, it remains for a small matter – to determine for yourself whether the sheepskin is worth dressing?
WHAT CONDITIONS ARE NECESSARY FOR KEEPING PIGS?
Raising pigs is considered almost the most successful option of animal husbandry, profitable, and relatively easy. Sow twice a year brings about ten piglets, which grow very quickly, gaining weight well on a small amount of feed. Neither poultry nor cattle will provide such an effective increase. However, you should not count on the fact that the pig can be kept in any conditions and fed what you have to. These animals are omnivorous, but their health and quality of meat largely depend on the diet.
If the idea of doing pig farming has taken you seriously, first you should familiarize yourself with the basic rules of how to raise pigs, and study the characteristics of different breeds. For example, some common breeds of large white pigs are of the bacon type, and no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to get good fat from them.
But small-looking lop-bellied Vietnamese pigs can provide you with the most tender meat with a small layer of fat and in addition will not cause much trouble in care. Therefore, it is worth pre-weighing all the pros and cons of different breeds, and choose the breed that most corresponds to your goals.
So, you have decided on the desired breed of pig, but before you go for piglets, take care of creating optimal conditions for their maintenance. The best option will be a fairly spacious barn, divided into three parts: a room with machines for permanent maintenance of animals, a space for walking with a canopy and a specially dug pit for bathing.
Looms, in turn, consist of a lair and a place to feed. For fattening young animals, the area of the machine is 3 sq.m., for a pregnant uterus – 4 sq. m., and for a suckling sow-up to 6 sq. m.
When planning to raise pigs at home, take into account that these animals, due to the peculiarities of their physique, are able to use the slightest omissions in the construction, breaking down insufficiently strong fences, partitions and making trenches. Therefore, it is worth taking special care of the strength of the pigsty. In addition, in the pig room, provide:
- a warm waterproof roof;
- dense non-freezing walls;
- warm hard floor with gutters to remove excrement;
- optimal lighting;
- heating devices, especially for the machine with newborn piglets.
When building a pigsty, use those materials that retain heat well: bricks, Adobe, cinder blocks, shell (reinforced concrete is not suitable). Inside the walls are plastered and whitewashed for sanitary reasons. The floor is recommended to be made of planks, so that it is durable and warm. It is necessary to provide a slope of the floor for the drainage of water and urine. Machines are mounted from metal or wood.
The area of the pig paddock should be at least ten square meters. The drinking trough in the pen is installed on a small elevation, so that the animals do not pollute the water.
INSEMINATION OF SOWS AND RAISING OF PIGLETS
To breed pigs, you can either regularly buy 6-8-week-old piglets, or raise your own sows, which will bear two offspring per year. But be prepared that the first offspring will have to wait at least a year since maturity in pigs occurs after 8 months, and the gestation period lasts about 115 days.
A suitable mating pig must weigh at least 100 kg by eight months, be healthy, have no defects, and have 12 well-defined teats. A few days before mating, it is transferred to a more nutritious diet with juicy feeds, concentrates, turnips and kitchen waste, so that the pig adds 0.5 kg per day (no longer desirable).
Since the onset of sexual hunting, which is easy to determine by the restless behavior of the animal, a kind of grunting and motionless reflex, the pig is met with a boar after 12 hours, or inseminated artificially. After another 12 hours, mating is repeated, and for the next seventeen days, carefully monitor whether the sow has any signs of hunting again. If not, then the pig has been fertilized, otherwise mating is carried out with another boar.
Piglets are born very weak, so their rearing under a sow or without it is a very responsible matter. Success is determined by suitable conditions of keeping (temperature not lower than + 18 degrees, no dampness and drafts, good lighting), as well as feed. Sow’s milk not only provides piglets with immunity against various diseases but also is a valuable food product, due to which babies can quickly gain weight during the three-week suckling period.
After that, the growth rate depends on the piglets eating various feedings. From the fifth day after birth, piglets begin to give skimmed milk, then steamed concentrates in the form of porridge, and from the 20th day they add mashed root vegetables. Wean piglets from sows at the age of four weeks.
When raising piglets without a sow, they are fed warm cow or goat milk from a bottle with a teat, already from the second week, they are accustomed to fertilizing.
Small pigs have a very high risk of developing anemia, which causes them to lag behind in growth, lose weight and die. In order to prevent iron deficiency, animals are given intramuscularly iron-containing preparations or add iron vitriol to drinking water – for one Piglet, a teaspoon of solution (2.5 g of vitriol per liter of water).
WHAT TO FEED AND HOW TO FATTEN PIGLETS
Growing pigs is convenient because the main part of the feed for them you can grow on your site: carrots, pumpkins, sugar and feed beets, potatoes, peas, alfalfa, etc. And from wild plants, you can prepare the most valuable nettle for piglets.
When buying small pigs, it is recommended to feed them three times a day with boiled root vegetables with a small addition of crushed wheat and vegetable food (bean tops or scalded nettle) with whey. For one Piglet per day, it should take about two to three kilograms of feed. Additionally, every day you need to give animals 10 g of salt.
Piglets need even more water than adult pigs – up to four liters per day. Moreover, the water in the trough should be changed two or three times a day to avoid contamination and infection with infectious diseases.
Features of pig fattening according to age:
- Fattening piglets begin at the age of three months. Since they require more protein for active muscle mass formation, boiled legumes, chopped cabbage leaves, and boiled carrots, coarsely grated, are added to the diet. The volume of feed increases to 4 kg per animal.
- By the seventh month of life in a pig, the ratio of muscle mass and fat begins to change, the growth of animals almost stops. The norm of the daily diet during this period should be about 6 kg, the food is enriched with boiled sugar beets, the amount of salt consumed daily increases to 30 g.
- Since eight months of age, the pig feeds fat, so the diet from this time on should be dominated by peas and boiled corn, cut zucchini, pumpkin and fat waste. Fresh and cooked fruits will allow you to achieve a more tender, low-fat meat. The volume of daily feed for an eight-month-old pig should reach 7 kg, and the amount of salt-40 g.
- By the first year in a well-fed pig, the ratio of meat and fat should be 60: 40, with a weight of 250 kg. The amount of feed consumed per day increases to 8 kg.