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Animal Husbandry > Pig

Care and Management

  • The dung and leftovers should be removed twice a day, i.e. morning and evening and the pen may be washed at least once a day. A pressure cleaning system can be effectively used.
  • Inspect all the animals at the feeding time.
  • If the pig is sick or off-feed or unthrifty, remove it from the lot and provide veterinary aid.
  • Check the weight of pigs periodically.
  • Put the identification marks by ear notching or tattooing at a very young age and by ear tags.
  • Breeding animals may be given provision for wallowing / water sprinkling during hot periods. In fattener pigs habitual wallowing lead to slight reduction in growth rate and feed conversion efficiency and hence wallowing is not essential.

Physiological Norms

Optimum levels
Rectal temperature 39.5o C
Respiration rate 10 – 12 /mt
Heart rate 70 – 80 /mt
Dental formula
Temporary 2 (DI 3/3 DC 1/1 DP 3 – 4/ 3 – 4) = 28 – 32
Permanent 2 (I 3/3 C 1/1 P 3 –4/ 3 – 4 M 3/3) = 40 - 44


Farrowing Sow and Litter

  • Clean and disinfect the farrowing pen with a solution of 2 % of phenyl lotion and keep it vacant for a week.
  • The pregnant female may be dewormed 2-3 weeks before farrowing and prior to admitting into the farrowing pen. Spray with external parasiticide (1% solution of malathion/cythion, butox. 0.05 %). Scrub the under surface, sides, interdigital space and udder to remove dirt, eggs of parasites, disease germs etc. with soap and water just before moving into the farrowing pen.
  • Move the clean animal to the clean pen 10 days before farrowing.
  • Provide light bedding of chopped straw 2-3 days before farrowing.
  • Appearance of milk in teats when pressed indicates the approach of farrowing time.
  • Attend the farrowing throughout. It may last up to 24 hours.
  • Wipe the piglets clean with towel/straw. Disinfect the naval cord with tincture of iodine. Normal healthy piglets suckle teats within 10-30 minutes. Help small piglets to suckle.
  • Placenta, dead piglets, soiled bedding etc. may be removed and buried in time with least delay. The placenta will be expelled generally within a short while.
  • Provide 50 mg iron (Imferon 1 ml) on the second day intra-muscularly to prevent piglet anaemia. Oral administration of iron solution (1 g Ferrous sulphate in 25 ml of water) 1 ml per piglet once a week can be tried. A second injection may be given at 5 weeks of age.
  • Keep the farrowing pen warm, dry and clean.
  • Needle teeth may be removed carefully.

The time taken for expulsion of litter vary from 1 hour to 5 hours. The interval between the birth of the first and that of successive piglets vary from a few minutes to 3 hours. About 30 per cent of piglets are usually born in posterior presentation. Generally placenta is shed only after all the piglings are born. Expulsion of placenta is usually within 3 hours after expulsion of foetus. Piglets start suckling within 10-15 minutes after birth. Artificial heat may be provided by using an infrared lamp / ordinary electric bulb during cold and rainy season to avoid death due to chilling.

Growing and finishing pigs

This period may be considered from weaning (9-10 kg) to the slaughter weight of 90-100 kg. Entire males, castrates and females can be fattened for meat purposes. The entire males and females may have higher feed conversion efficiency than castrates. Castration if required may be done at the age of 3-6 weeks. Castrates are more docile and put on slightly more fat. Growers may be grouped according to sex, size and weight as uniformly as possible. The difference in weight between the small and large pig in a lot should not be more than 20%. Up to 15 pigs may be conveniently put together in a pen. In summer, sprinklers, wallowing tanks etc. may be provided in addition to shades to cool pigs. Poor growers may be identified, culled and removed from the lot at the earliest. Deworming may be done two weeks after weaning and may be repeated once in two months if necessary.

Orphan pigs

When a sow dies or fails to produce milk or does not claim her pigs, the piglings should be promptly shifted to a foster mother. Some sows may refuse to suckle alien piglings. Care should be taken to simulate the conditions including the odour and body size of piglings when admitted to a foster mother or another suckling sow. If a suckling sow is not available, hand feeding would be necessary. Cow’s milk is the best substitute for sow’s milk. Buttermilk or sweet skim milk can also be used. Each pigling may consume 300-500 ml milk per day. Best results may be secured by feeding 5-6 times a day for the first few weeks and thereafter the frequency may gradually be reduced to 2-3 times. Any standard vitamin preparation two or three times the quantity used for infants may be administered to the piglings until they start taking feed. Injectable iron preparation (e.g. Imferon) may be given as usual. A 60-Watt electric bulb may provide enough warmth for the piglings during the early days of life.

Expected live weight for age under good feeding and management

Age (weeks) Live weight, kg
(Source: Kerala Agricultural University)

Approximate water requirements of pigs per day

Age group/Age (weeks Water requirements (litres)
Pregnant pig
First 3 months
         Last month
Lactating sow with 5-8 piglets
        10-12 piglets


(Source: Kerala Agricultural University)

Carcass measurements in Pigs

Live weight (kg) Dressing % Without head Carcass length (cm) BF thickness  (cm)
(Source: Kerala Agricultural University)

Manure disposal

The dry solid dung may be collected morning and evening and stored in the dung shed. The liquid part of urine and washings may be taken to settling tanks.


Pigs can be effectively integrated to a biogas plant for meeting the cooking /lighting demand of the farmers. It can also be integrated to agriculture and fish culture thereby increasing the overall economic efficiency of the system. The pig dung is good organic manure in dried form or as compost.

Approximate daily manure production of pigs

Age (weeks) Live weight (kg) Volume of solid and liquid
Sow with litter
(Source: Kerala Agricultural University)


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