Pigs Breeding Cycle and Recommended Practices

Regarding pigs breeding, pigs like other animals will mate only when the female is in heat or during the oestrus period. There are physiological changes that take place in the female which allow ovulation or shading of the egg for fertilization to take place in the presence of the males’ sperms.

The normal heat period lasts for three to five days; signs of heat are:  

First stage;

  • General restlessness
  • Vulva turns red and swollen
  • White mucus discharge

Second stage;

  • Real heat lasts for 40-60 hours
  • Vulva less red and swollen, slimy mucous discharge
  • Tendency to mount and be mounted
  • Sow or gilt will stand still when pressure is applied to her back
  • She is ready for service, this is the right stage to send her to the  boar

Third stage

  • After the heat, the sow will stand still when pressure is applied to her back,
  • The swelling of the vulva disappears

Read Also: Proper Management of Pig Breeding Stocks, Piglets, Weaners, Growing, and Finishing Pigs

Recommended Practices in Pigs Breeding

It is important to note that few of the signs above will be seen therefore it is best to put the sow with the boar for a short period every day when the heat is expected.

Always take the sow to the boar, not the reverse, this is less upsetting for him. It is best to put them together just before feeding. Let the boar serve her twice, with an interval of about 12 hours between services.

If the sow does not conceive, she will return to the heat in about 3 weeks’ time. The gestation period is 114 days (3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days). Pregnant sows should not be too crowded in their pens as this can cause abortion.

A week before service, give the sow/gilt 1 kg of feed extra per day (standard is 2.5 kg/day). Continue this for one week after service. During the last month of pregnancy give 0.5-1 kg extra feed per day, but decrease this gradually one week before farrowing, and provide plenty of water to help prevent congested gut during farrowing.

Read Also: General Introduction to Pig Management

1. Preparation for Farrowing

The farrowing pen should be dry clean and free from draughts.

Clean and disinfect the farrowing pen thoroughly and scrub into the crevices with insecticides to control mange and lice ten days before the commencement of farrowing.

Deworm sow with dewormers that are not contraindicated during pregnancy two weeks before the expected farrowing.

The show should be moved to the farrowing pen 4-7 days before farrowing ad her body should be washed with soapy water and weak disinfectant to remove dirt and parasite eggs.

Provide plenty of straw, chopped into short lengths of say 10 cm to prevent the piglets from being trapped in longer straw and being crushed by their mother. The first 3 days of life are the most critical for the piglets.

One day before farrowing the sow becomes restless and later milk can be squeezed out of the teats. She will begin to make a nest with straw.

Use a well-designed farrowing pen for example farrowing crate to prevent the sow from accidentally crushing the piglets.

During farrowing the sow/gilt will lie down and grunt. It will be lifting her hind legs as labor pains increase. Generally, pigs have little difficulty farrowing and will farrow with little interference from the attendant. Farrowing normally takes 4 to 6 hours but some sows will take up to 18 hours or more.

When a piglet is born it will severe the naval cord and then walks round the sow’s hind legs to find the teats and within 45 minutes start suckling its first colostrum.

Read Also: Best Management Practices for Weaners (Young Pigs)

The after birth (placenta) will either come out as the last piglet is born or immediately after that. The placenta needs to be buried as soon as possible to prevent the sow/gilt from eating it, as this may open her appetite for her own piglets.

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 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 f 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 an 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.

Read Also: Proper Management of Pig Breeding Stocks, Piglets, Weaners, Growing, and Finishing Pigs

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Benadine Nonye

An Agric. Consultant & a Writer (With over 12 years of professional experience in the agricultural industry) - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Visit My Websites On: Agric4profits.com - It's All About Agriculture, The Way Forward! Agric4profit.com - The Most Reliable Global Agricultural Forum! Agric4profit.com.ng - The Most Reliable Nigeria's Agricultural Job Board! TheAgriPedia.com - For Everything Premium Agriculture! WealthinWastes.com - For Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices. Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4ProfitsTV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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