Publish Date: 02/08/2016
Pigs are an adaptable and rapidly growing species that may be attractive for small and beginning farmers seeking to incorporate livestock into their farm. This factsheet summarizes typical performance of the type of pigs most commonly raised in the United States. Although these estimates are not universal, they are a starting point for developing a plan to raise pigs. Estimates of feed use for a sow and a litter of pigs to market as well as a glossary of terms and abbreviations commonly used in pig production literature are also presented.
Publish Date: 12/01/2015
The performance of pigs is the result of two influences: genetics and environment. Because the genetics of a pig plays an important role in its performance and meat quality, all pig producers should be familiar with the potential and application of genetic selection. This factsheet provides an introduction to genetic principles and selection strategies for beginning pig farmers.
Publish Date: 11/11/2015
Breeding or mating systems are the approach taken to pairing a boar and a gilt or sow for breeding in order to incorporate or maintain desired traits. Because the genetics of a pig plays an important role in its performance and meat quality, all pig producers should be familiar with breeding systems for pigs. This factsheet provides an introduction to pig breeding systems and heterosis. Practical swine breeding systems for small and beginning pig farmers are also discussed.
Publish Date: 11/11/2015
This factsheet presents a biosecurity protocol for farms raising pigs in alternative housing systems. The protocol can be adapted in various ways to meet the needs of different farms. The main objective is to provide smaller scale, alternative production system users with information they can use to enhance farmstead biosecurity. Developing and implementing an effective biosecurity protocol for livestock reduces the risk of disease, thereby benefiting production and profitability.
Publish Date: 05/06/2015
Over the past decade there has been increased awareness from the public on animal welfare issues related to commercial swine. More specifically, in the United States, much time and discussion has focused on housing conditions of sows during farrowing and lactation. Restricted sow movement in the traditional farrowing stall has been identified as a significant concern with growing pressure towards the elimination of this system. Recognizing changes in consumer demand and the desire to improve sow welfare by meeting her biological needs during farrowing, alternative farrowing options need to be assessed. The purpose of this factsheet is to identify alternative farrowing options and discuss the impacts of these facilities on the biological needs of the sow, piglet welfare and impact on worker safety, efficiency and labor costs.