The piglet is born with very limited supplies of energy. This is further complicated by the stresses of the birth process. The piglet is born with thin skin and short hair. Thus it is less protected against extremes of temperature and humidity.
In cold weather, a small area can be heated with 50 watts electric light bulb hung 30-40 cm above the piglets, kerosene lamp, or stove. They should also be provided with warmth in the form of beddings made up of wood shavings or hay.
In humid areas, they should be put in a well-ventilated pen. Farmers should make sure their piglets have taken colostrums ‘the first milk’ which is rich in various nutrients and antibodies except for iron and copper.
Guide to Proper Management of Piglets
1. Creep feeding
Young piglets from 10 days onwards should have a high protein diet available to them. They have to be fed in small r creep areas where the mother cannot eat the feed. The feed conversion rate of young piglets is very high thus creep feeding is particularly economic.
Creep feeding is very important as the piglets become used to feeding on a meal at an early age; the sow’s milk also begins to decrease just as the piglets require more feed.
2. Provision of iron
It is necessary for piglets to be given iron this can be in the form of an injection of 2ml iron dextran, or as pills or in their creep feed or swab the sow’s teats with an appropriate solution that contains iron or copper, like ferrous sulfate, or administer in water daily, for the first five days of life.
Piglet needle teeth should be clipped off with a pair of clippers to prevent them from wounding their sows teat which might make her refuse them suckling.
If piglets are reared on a concrete floor, provide clean soil or earth (sod) which is of up-rooted grass with both roots and earth intact at a corner of the pen as a source of iron and copper.
By observing good management and sanitary practices as mentioned above the piglets will double their birth weights within 5-8 days. At weaning i.e. between 4-6 weeks of age they should weigh 10-12 times more than their birth weight.
Growth rates in large litters are usually less uniform than in smaller ones. Bigger piglets usually prefer the better front teats and so gain more weight and faster than the rest. Piglets usually stick to the teats they started with.
In conclusion, proper management of each class of pigs on the farm is essential for the profitability of the herd. The farmer must make every effort to ensure that the well-being and productivity of his animals are achieved.
Consideration for management of pigs includes a) stockman ship which refers to the relationship between the farmer and his pigs. b) Handling and restraint: The necessity of restraint arises because, unfortunately, all the animals do not reciprocate your love for them. c) Hygiene:
This is one of the important aspects of pig farming to prevent infection and ensure success and profitability.
Boars are selected following performance testing to ensure the efficient performance of their offspring. This include, a faster growth rate than average with less back fat than average, It has utilized its feed more efficiently as a result of producing less fat, must have two equally sized and firmly suspended testicles, and with good sexual libido also good conformation, strong straight feet, and good temperament.
A boar should not start serving until he is over eight months of age; and during the first two months of service, only twice per week. Subsequently, he can be used for up to six services per week.
Overworking a boar will reduce the quality of the sperm produced, leading to small litters and an increased number of sows returning to service. The standard recommendation is one boar to 20 sows and gilts.
Piglets should be provided with warmth in the form of beddings made up of wood shavings or hay. In humid areas, they should be put in a well-ventilated pen. Farmers should make sure their piglets have taken colostrums ‘the first milk’ which is rich in various nutrients and antibodies except for iron and copper.
Young piglets from 10 days onwards should have a high protein diet available to them. This has to be fed in a small creep (creep feeding) or area where the mother cannot eat the feed.
Weaning is the separation of a young piglet from its mother with the aim of stopping them from suckling milk. This could take place between 4 to 6 weeks of their life. At this age, the piglets will eat feed and fend for themselves.
By the 8-9 weeks of age, the growing pig is over the stress of weaning, and its digestive system will be competent to deal with a range of protein and energy sources some 80% of the food used in a pig unit is consumed by the growing and finishing pigs, therefore the efficiency of food utilization during this phase is a crucial factor affecting profitability.