One of the branches of animal husbandry or livestock farming is Pig Farming. It means raising and breeding of domestic pigs. In Pig farming, the pigs are generally raised for food (e.g. bacon, pork) or their skin.
Animal husbandry means raising different types of animals on a farm for the purpose of meat, milk, skin, fiber, eggs, etc. It is very important to know how to take day-to-day care of the animals and breeding methods. This will help in producing quality end products.
If you are a beginner, fascinated about pigs, and want to start a pig farm, this article will help you increase your knowledge about pigs and will guide you to start your own pig farm.
You will learn about Raising pigs, how to take care of their health, the disease they can catch, how to protect them, different breeds of pigs – which one is right for you, and what you should feed your pigs, and how to house and fence pigs.
Let not wait for any further and jump right into the topic.
Raising Pigs for Beginners
With the ever-increasing population, the demand for pig meat is also increasing. As a result, many farmers are choosing pig farming. And this has led to an increase in income for farmers.
More than 1 billion pigs are slaughtered every year worldwide, out of which 100 million is slaughtered in The United States of America because of the increase in demand for pig meat, fat, skin, medical use, cosmetics, and ingredients for processed foods.
There are different types of pig breeds all over the world. If you are planning to start a pig farm, choosing a local breed that is easily available will be your best option. Because these breed of the pig have already adapted to the weather conditions of your place.
Pigs grow up very fast, so it is better to start with a piglet. By choosing piglets, it will help to gain a very good experience of raising pigs.
Pig farming like every other livestock farming also has some benefits and disadvantages.
Benefits of Pig Farming
- Everyone thinks pigs are dirty animals, but it is not true. Actually Pigs are clean animals. They like to stay in the mud so that they can keep their body temperature under control because they have very few sweat glands.
- Pigs have very few health issues because they have very good immunity and can also survive in extreme conditions.
- The demand for pig meats is very high. So pig meat has great value. Mostly new farmers choose pig farming because the maintenance cost of pig farming is very low.
- Pigs are very friendly animals and very good domestic animals to raise.
Disadvantages of Pig Farming
- Pigs are very social animals they like to stay in groups; therefore you have to raise them in a big group.
- It is very difficult to clean their shelter because of the poop lying around.
- Pigs need extra care during the winter season; you need to make sure to place hay or feathers on the floor so that they can maintain their body temperature.
- Pigs are a good runner and sometime they will run away. So it is a headache for the farmer to run around to get them.
- They eat a lot of food. So you need to find extra time for them to graze.
Different Breeds of Pigs – Which one is right for you?
So after knowing about the growing demand for pig meat in the market you may be interested in starting your own pig farm. But before you make any decision you need to know about the different breeds of pigs and which one is right for you.
It is always best to choose a locally available pig breed if you are a Newbie Farmer. The reason for this is they have already adapted to your weather conditions and it will easy for you to raise them.
The best pig breeds that you can choose for your pig farm are:
- Dutch landrace Pigs
- American Yorkshire Pigs
- Heritage Pig breeds
- Duroc Pig
- Gloucestershire old spot Pigs
- Poland China Pigs
If anyone of these pig breeds is already available in your local market make sure you choose any one of them. They are very easy to raise and will earn you a good profit.
Dutch Landrace Pigs
As the name suggests these pig breeds have originated from The Netherland. Dutch Landrace pigs are one of the most common domesticated pigs. They are raised because of the high demand for their meat, high fertility rate, and are very intelligent animals and have an excellent sense of smell.
They are also raised for crossbreeding to improve other pig breeds. The Boars can weigh around 226kg (498 lbs.) – 318kg (701 lbs.). Dutch landrace is white in color and can adapt to all climates.
American Yorkshire Pigs
These are the breed of pigs that you will found in almost every state of The United States of America and Canada. It is one of the most famous pig breeds in North America. The demand for this breed of pig is very high because of its lean meat and less fat. They are very durable and have a muscular body.
Yorkshire breed of pig has originated from England in a place called ‘YORK’. The first Yorkshire pig breed that came into the US was around 1830 in the state of Ohio. The physical characteristic is they have erect ears, white in color, and can weigh around 200kg (440 lbs.) to 290kg (640 lbs.).
Heritage Pig Breed
Mostly new and small farmers choose heritage pig breeds for their pig farm because they are easy to raise and there is a high demand for their meat. Berkshire, Tamworth, and large white are the most common heritage pig breed raised by small farmers.
Before the commercial farming became popular heritage pig breeds are the breeds that were raised in backyard and barnyards in America and Europe. It is easy to raise them because you don’t have to feed them a lot of supplements as they can manage their own food by foraging.
More than 150 years of crossbreeding of different types of pigs the result is the current Duroc Pigs. The farmer is 1812 started breeding Duroc pig with Jersey red rigs according to National Swine Registry. Duroc pig is an old breed that originated in America and it is the second most recorded breed in The US.
Earlier Duroc pigs were very large pig breed, but not as large as Jersey Red pigs. Today they are medium-sized swine breed because of cross-breeding. They can be orangish-brown to mahogany-red in color, with a long body and slightly-dished face. They can weigh up to 290kg (640 lbs.) and have dropping ears.
They are one of the least aggressive swine breeds and are raised specially for their meat. Because of their ability to adapt to different climate conditions and faster growth, they are one of the first choices for the small farmers for their pig farm.
Gloucestershire old spot Pigs
You may know Gloucestershire old spot pigs by many different names like Old spot, Gloucester, Gloucestershire old spot, or Gloucester old spot. They are originated from England and are white in color with black spots all over the body. These pigs are named after the country Gloucestershire in southwest England.
It may be difficult for you to find this pig breed in The United States because of their fewer numbers in states. But if you have decided to raise this pig you may have to be on a waiting list for them.
Fully grown Gloucestershire old spot pigs boars can reach up to the weight of 272kg (660 lbs) and sow 227kg (500 lbs). Their meat is also high in demand in the market.
Poland China Pigs
Poland China pigs are the oldest American breed of swine. They are well known for their large size and are easily recognizable with black or sometimes white patches. The largest Poland china pigs ever recorded was of 1.157 kg ( 2.552 lbs.). Since they grow pretty large in size, most of the farmer tends to choose Poland china pigs for their pig farm.
Poland China pigs are a fusion between Polish pigs and Big china pigs and were developed in America from around 1835 to 1875. They are one of the most common swine breeds you will see in The US.
If you choose Poland china pigs you can earn a good profit because of their large frame and high meat production. They are also known for their quiet temperament so it is easy to raise them.
Choosing the right breed of swine is one of the key components if you want to start your successful pig farm.
Now once you have decided with swine breed is best for you. Let us move on to our next topic i.e. what to feed your pigs.
What do Pigs Eat?
Pigs can eat both plants and animals since they are omnivores. They like to eat plants, fruits, roots, and flowers in addition to this they also eat animals, insects, and fish. Generally, the domesticated pigs are mostly fed soybean meal and corn in addition to minerals and vitamins that are added to their diet.
If you want to raise pigs and earn profit you must focus on providing your pigs with the right food at the right proportion during the various stages of their growth.
This will help to raise a healthy and heavier pig which will increase your end product. You need to formulate their diet plan in such a way that they get all the Protein, Sugar, Minerals, and nutrition from fruits and vegetables.
Piglet, Weaner, Grower, and finisher are the different stages of the pig’s life. It is important to know what to feed the swine in which stage of their growth.
- Piglets rely on milk from their mother. Once the sow cannot provide milk anymore you can start feeding them with creep.
- Creep are feed to piglets to replace the sow milk, they are solid with the same nutrition values.
- After this, you can add Benzoic acid to the feed for piglets and weaners for their growth. The quantity should not be more than 2,500mg/kg feed.
- When they reach the growth stage you should include high protein food in their diet like cereals, soya, barley, wheat, etc.
- After reaching the finisher stage they are already grown up and their food intake also increases a lot. You must include rapeseed extract, soy, wheat, and high protein foods in their diet.
For you swine to grow healthier and heavier their diet should include a lot of protein, and nutrition from grains and vegetables. But pigs are picky eaters, what one eats can sometimes not be preferred by the other.
What pigs don’t eat?
One of the most common misconceptions is that people think pigs can and will eat anything. Since they are omnivores they can eat a lot of things, but there are something’s that they don’t like to eat and something’s that we should now feed them.
The food that should be avoided is as follows:
- Anything slimy, or rotten should not be given to your pigs.
- Foods containing sugar content raw meat and raw eggs should never be given to swine.
- Raw meat can transfer disease to your pigs.
- Raw eggs interfere with pig’s biotin absorption. Instead, you can give them cooked eggs.
- Do not add scarps, used kitchen oil, and food waste in your pig feed.
- Maintain a low sugar and salt in their diet.
- It is not good to feed pigs with a lot of fresh fruits as well because they are high in sugar. You should always maintain a balanced diet for them.
These are the basic things you need to keep in mind while feeding you swine.
How to house and Fence Pigs
After learning how to raise pigs and what to feed them, you may also want to know how to house and fence pigs.
Fencing for Pigs
Pigs are even more proficient than goats at evading fencing. Electric fencing is recommended by many experts but instead, you can use hog panels. A small enclosure with hog panels is used by some farmers so that their space is churned into mud within days. Now, you’ll employ this effect to your benefit by using pigs as rototillers, to clear and switch up ground that you simply will plant later. You can fence of piglets by just using hog panels. After this buy automatic feeder and waterer, add some grain. This is the best option if you have limited land.
The drawback of this is that it will be very expensive to raise pigs like this because you have to pay every penny for their nutrition and they will smell a lot.
If you have a large place you should consider installing an electric fence. This will give them more free space to roam around and forage, plus they will fertilize your land buy spreading their manure. One more benefit of letting pig graze it that they also brush in addition to grass, so you can use your pigs to clear more rugged areas of your land.
You have to make your pig shelter in a way that keeps them safe from wind, rain, and sun. You can use wood or pallets or anything you can find laying around. Just make sure the shelter you make must have proper ventilation and wind protection.
Pig makes their shed very dirty by pooping and urinating, so make sure you have high carbon bedding made of straw and hay. This will help to soak up the urine and poop and minimize the smell.
Your pigs will need a lot of water. Water is very essential in pigs’ life. They not only drink a lot of water, but they also like to stay in mud or pool of water to maintain their body temperature and keep themselves cool. This is because they have very few sweat glands and they barely sweat. You can install sprinklers in the shed to keep them cool in the summer season.
You can install an electric fence as a pig cannot jump high the fence does not need to be tall (around three feet is enough). But don’t forget to keep a non-electrical gate so they can easily come and go.
We have the understood how to raise pigs, different breeds of pigs, what to feed them and what not to feed them, and how to house and fence pigs. Now lets us look into what are the health issues your beloved pigs can get and how to protect them.
Health Care and Diseases
Even though pigs are very sturdy animals they are easily affected by stress. It could because of a lack of food or water. So make sure you provide them with ample food and water. If they are in stress it will decrease their productivity and might cause losses. I have also attached a pig diseases pdf from the University of California. Please read it to know more about pig diseases and how to treat them.
If you are raising pigs you should know about these 6 common pig diseases in different stages of their growth. This will help you to take care of your pigs and not incur losses.
- Greasy Pig – Exudative dermatitis is a skin disease caused by a bacterial infection.
- Coccidiosis is caused by intracellular parasite coccidian and this disease is very common in suckling piglets.
- Respiratory diseases: The signs of respiratory diseases are coughing, abdominal breathing, sneezing, and reduce the growth rate.
- Swine dysentery: If your pigs are suffering from diarrhea it could be swine dysentery. Diarrhea could be with or without blood.
- Mastitis: Always take care of sow, if you see any sign of high body temperature, loss of appetite, and reduce milk production in the sow. Then she could be suffering for Mastitis.
- Porcine parvovirus (PPV): Parvovirus mostly affects pregnant sow. Reproduction disease can occur if the sow is infected with this virus.
6 Common Myths about Pigs
There are so many things that we read online or hear from our family and friends and tend to believe in them without verifying the fact.
Similarly, there are also some common myths about pigs. Let’s look into it.
- Pigs are vegetarian: FALSE! Pigs are omnivores they can eat both plants and animals. Domesticated pigs are mostly on a vegetarian diet, but if they are in wild they will eat insects, fish, and other small animals as well.
- Pigs are Smelly and Dirty: FALSE! Pigs like to stay clean. If they have enough space they will poop away from their eating place. The mother sow always teaches her piglet to poop away from their eating and sleeping place.
- Pigs are Dumb: FALSE! Pigs are the 4th intelligent animals on the intelligence scale and are above dogs. They can learn quickly and have the ability to learn quickly and solve problems.
- Pigs can eat anything: False! Food eaten by one breed of pigs may not be liked by other breeds. They are very picky eaters.
- Pigs can live better alone: False! Pigs are very social animals; they prefer to stay in a group. That’s why it not advisable t raise only one or two pigs on a farm. They are happier when they are in a group.
- Pigs are like Dogs: False! You cannot compare pigs and dogs together. They do don’t behave or learn the same way. Pigs are not aggressive in nature.
Pig farming is getting very popular because of the ever-growing population and an increase in demand for their meat. It is also a good way to earn profit and easy to do.
If you want to know more about pigs you can also read my other article FUN FACTS ABOUT PIGS YOU NEVER KNEW.
I hope this answers your entire question about pig farming. And I believe you are ready to start your own pig farm. If you have any question or suggestions I would like to you hear from you
About the Author
Farm Animals Guide
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