The most productive pigs are likely to be those reared in a suitable environmental temperature which ensures that the pig’s metabolic heat production is then at a minimum and it is neither using feed energy to keep warm nor reducing feed intake to keep cool.
Other considerations for pig comfort and well-being in addition to temperature are :
- Protection from other climatic extremes such as direct sun, wind and rains.
- Provision of dry conditions which are hygienic and do not predispose the pig to disease.
- Allowing of the pig and minimizing the effect of social dominance
- Provision of accessible food and clean water.
- Ensuring favorable conditions so that good stockmanship can be practiced.
- Effective disposal of effluent.
Pig is a very unique animal and just like some other animals, pigs of different sizes sexes and conditions may demand different types of special care.
Boar, sow, feeders etc may not be put together in under the same roof in the same house constructed in the same manner due to their special requirements for productivity.
Protection of boars against temperature extremes is very important as high temperatures can rapidly lead to lower fertility of semen and reduced libido.
Strongly constructed boar accommodation is essential, particularly to prevent boars getting out and fighting.
Wire reinforcements can be used for walls, and bolts and hinges for doors must be good.
The boar in the boar pen should not serve sow. A simple service area should be constructed outside. This has the advantage of being cooler (early morning and evening), providing a good foothold to the pigs on the grass or soil.
Dry Sow Housing
Yards are the simplest form of dry sow housing, and consist of a yard or large pen shared by several sows. In order to avoid bullying and fighting, sow groups should not be too large. Adequate shaded lying area and trough space must be provided.
Ideally, sows should have access to individual feeders so that feed intake for individual sows can be controlled. This system is widely used by small-scale and less intensive producers.
It is the best system for gilts as it allows them to interact and stimulate oestrous behavior.
In sow stalls, each sow is individually penned and fed in a small pen, which restricts movement. The main advantages of individual stalls are that bullying and fighting are eliminated, cleaning-out, feeding and management are facilitated, and sow can be fed according to individual requirements and the sow does not use up energy in walking.
The major disadvantage is that, it can lead to lameness and lack of muscle tone in sows. Care must be taken in design so that sows are well-protected from the weather on all sides of the building as they can not huddle together to conserve body warmth in cold conditions.
Farrowing and rearing accommodation
This is probably the most important building in the piggery, providing for the birth of piglets and getting them off to a good start in life.
The need for specialist design in farrowing pens has increased as sows have been bred with larger body sizes, bigger litters and reduced mothering ability.
Thus, while the small indigenous sow will make a nest and farrow and rear her piglets very efficiently without any help for the average exotic sow, piglet survival will decrease unless certain provisions are made.
A considerable amount of care must be taken with feeders to avoid all feed wastage. In the first place, whatever the type of piggery, they must be fixed.
Mobile feeders are always up-ended and the food soiled, trampled and wasted.
As a consequence, experience has shown that feeding on the ground is not appropriate. In hot climates, pigs occupy most of the pen area and tend to spoil the entire floor area, particularly at high stocking densities.
Wastage of food seems to be high. Feeding trough must be easily cleaned, even if pigs themselves do this to an extent. The internal surface must be smooth and without sharp angles. The dept must be sufficient (20cm) such that the food only occupies the bottom and cannot be flicked out.
Finally, they should not be used as a wallow. Pigs have the habit of lying in feed troughs. In addition, subdividing the trough transversely with metal rods (10mm preferably) every 40cm, if it is to be used by many animals. This is recommended.
This has the advantage of allocating places from the moment of feeding. The trough may be wooden and fixed into the walls with removable bolts.
However, if it is to be used by more than two animals, it must be replaced by one made from cement and must meet all the necessary requirements.
It should be placed along the service wall to aid distribution of food. Cement troughs should have a round hole in the bottom with a bung placed from the outside as this will allow them to be cleaned with water.
If a basal diet is fed at libitum, this may be offered effectively from wooden hoppers, which may contain maize, dry cassava chips, etc. This ensures that animals do not go without food and makes distribution easier.
Those hoppers may be made readily from wood. There are advantages in surrounding the bottom corners of the base with iron to prevent its rapid decay.