Swine Raising for Meat Production in the Philippines (Part 3)
Here’s an in-depth look at the world of swine raising and the potential business you can get out of it.
Sows and gilts should be full-fed with a high-energy ration for fourteen days prior to mating to ensure a maximum ovulation rate.
Mating should be done at the most appropriate time for the sow to guarantee the maximum litter size. Signs that a sow is in heat should be closely observed before mating. These include exhibiting restlessness and frequent grunts, mounting other pigs, frequent urination, swelling and reddening of the vulva with possible discharge.
Sows and gilts should be mated to the same boar in one heat period with an interval of 12 to 25 hours. An ideal boar to sow ratio is 1.25 to 30.
Sows should be settled in the furrowing house seven days before expected date of furrowing to give the sow ample time to adjust to her new environment. Sows and gilts should be de-wormed and protected from internal parasites and should be treated for external parasites two weeks before expected furrowing date.
Breeding sows furrow averagely 109 to 119 days after successful mating. Furrowing signs include presence of milk when the teats are pressed, swollen abdomen, swollen vulva with possible discharge, and restlessness in the sow. Sows should have assistance during birth as this is most crucial time to piglets.
Piglets must be weaned at age four to six weeks. Sows are removed from the pen so the piglets are left with their familiar environment. Sows come in heat within three to seven days after weaning.
Artificial insemination is the breeding process in which the boar’s semen is given to the sow through the use of a catheter. This technology started in the Philippines in the 60′s and is now widely adapted by commercial and backyard pig farmers.
Artificial insemination is popular for its economic benefits. More gilts and sows are able to breed with one boar thus diminishing the care and management need of more boars. Artificial insemination also allows the farmer to choose which boar to breed with gilts. When applying artificial insemination, a knowledgeable technician should be present to do the procedure. Proper artificial insemination facilities should be prepared to preserve the quality of the semen.
Artificial insemination should be performed on the sow in heat at the right time. It is also important to check the quality of the semen before the process. Storage and transportation of the semen should be given utmost care. Semen should be stored at 16 to 17C.
The right feeding management should start at the very beginning of a piglet’s life. It is important to supply the sow with a good ration if her milk is inadequate to feed the litter. If necessary, piglets may be provided with a milk replacer.
Pigs have different ration requirements for each growth stage. Ration changes should be made gradually over a seven-day period to allow .the pigs to adjust to their new feeding rations.
At age one week, piglets should be fed with a good commercial pre-starter ration. Starter rations are given to pigs from weaning to age eight weeks, or when they are 10 to 25 kilograms in weight. At age eight weeks or when they are 30 to 35 kilograms, pigs are given a grower ration until they are age fifteen to twenty weeks, after which pigs should be given a finisher ration. Clean water should be provided at all times.
When formulating a simplified ration, it is important to consider that the ration should always include sufficient energy, protein and vitamins and minerals. Corn and its by-products, cassava, camote and slaughterhouse discards may be fed to the pigs if these are properly cooked and dried. Proper ration can prevents any excess feed that will only go to waste.
The animals must be fed with rations that are highly digestible. Enzymes may be included in the feed to help in the pigs’ digestion. Some processes like pelleting, extrusion and pre-cooking of the feed are known to help in the digestibility of the feed. Easily digestible feeds ensure that the nutrients from the feeds are absorbed by the animals.
Sanitation should be given priority in, keeping a healthy environment in hog house. Buildings, pens, equipment and facilities should always be kept clean and regularly sanitized and disinfected.
Pigs coming from other sources must be initially quarantined and isolated before transporting them to the pens. Replacement breeder stocks must be immunized against parasites and diseases especially hog cholera and swine plague. Services of a veterinarian or a technician from the Bureau of Animal Industry must be sought when necessary.
Biosecurity measures must be undertaken to guarantee maximum profitability of the stock. Pest control and waste management are among the important biosecurity procedures recommended in swine operations.
Flies, mice, birds and rats should be kept out of the hog house as they not only steal food, they also transmit disease. Rats can be controlled by using mechanical and chemical pest control measures like traps and pesticides. Cats can be used for controlling rats. Other preventive measures are cleaning feed spill promptly, and controlling weeds around the hog house.
All-in-all-out management system should be adapted when moving animals of the same age to their pens. This minimizes disease transmission and allows for the pens to be fully cleaned and sanitized.
to be continued…
By Carmela Abaygar