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No. 11 (July 1955)
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PIG MANAGEMENT

The subject of pig farming is a wide one but it is hoped that the following will give some small guide to Maori farmers.

Before the farmer goes to the expense of buying good pigs for breeding he should see that the conditions under which he intends to keep them are such that they will have every chance of repaying him adequately for his time and efforts. A good sized pig layout, at least 3 chain from the cowshed, should be erected and the following points kept in mind.

(a)

The feeding yard should be built at the most convenient point for feeding.

(b)

Paddocks made sufficiently large to allow pigs to obtain good grazing on good pasture.

(c)

Satisfactory housing must be provided by way of either a main piggery building or by movable houses in the different paddocks. The latter are cheaply constructed, can be moved frequently and would be suitable for the average farmer.

It is most necessary to work to a plan if good returns are to be obtained. A ratio of 1 sow to 10 cows could be taken to commence and possibly increased as efficiency is gained. Buy good purebred maiden sows and a young boar. Select a good cross, for example:—Berkshire sow—Tamworth or large white boar.

A balance production should be the aim. According to when milk becomes available sows should be mated so that they are farrowing approximately 2 months before the bulk of herd comes into production. Farrowings should be staggered so that there are sufficient pigs to cope with milk supply at the various stages of the season. The aim should be at 2 litters per sow per year. The first litters can generally be taken to baconer weights and as milk production falls pigs sent away at porker weights. A minimum of pigs should be kept over the winter unless there is an adequate supply of roots and supplementary feed. The best weights to aim at will be:—

Baconers 140–150 lbs.

Porkers 80–90 lbs. (These are the most profitable pigs.)

Heavy Porkers 91–120 lbs.

Management of Boar.

Boars should be fed so as to keep them in good healthy condition without allowing them to put on too much weight. Young boars that are still growing should be fed well to enable them to mature and they should be used sparingly and with care.

The act of mating extends over about 10 minutes and no disturbance should be permitted during mating. The sow should be mated to the boar after she has been showing signs of heat for 24 hours approximately. She is left until a satisfactory service has taken place. After a further 24 hours a second service should be given.

Management of in-pig sow.

Proper management of the sow from the time of mating will produce more pigs per litter. Nearly all sows have lost a good deal of weight by the time their litters are weaned and that weight must be put back. A mature sow should gain from 75–100 Ibs. weight during the time she is carrying a litter. An in-pig sow should get from 6–8 gallons of skimmed milk or its equivalent per day together with 1 lb. of meatmeal and access to good pasture at all times. The latter is most important. In addition warm dry sleeping quarters must be provided.

Sows must be put into their farrowing quarters at least 2 weeks before they are due to farrow. Clean drinking water should be provided at all times.

For 24 hours before farrowing they must be lightly fed and for 24 hours after farrowing only drinking water should be given.

If possible the farmer should attend a sow at farrowing, this will no doubt save pigs.

Feeding of sows while they are suckling an average litter of say eight piglets would be approximately 8–9 gallons skim-milk or the equivalent per day.

Castration of pigs should be carried out at about 4 weeks. If left longer it is harder on the piglets and on the man.

Weaning. When the litter is 2 months old the sow should be taken away from the piglets and placed in a pen by herself. She will come onto heat 4–6 days after weaning. Piglets suckling the sow should, after 4 weeks, receive a supply of meal in a separate creep or place where the sow cannot gain access. A small quantity of skim-milk should also be fed. This will make a great difference to the weights at weaning.

Feeding. Newly weaned litters should be fed more than twice per day for the first 2–3 weeks to avoid gorging. However, evidence now shows that after this period 2 feeds per day are sufficient and following is a guide to the quantity of skim-milk that should be fed:—

36–40 lbs. liveweight, 1 ½ gallons per day.

40–65 lbs. liveweight, gradual increase to 2 ½ gallons per day.

(Continued on Page 62)

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Right: Ache Hetet, Ngahape, King Country, gives a good deal of attention to his pigs—and the pigs look as if they like it. (John Ashton Photograph.)

 

PIG MANAGEMENT (continued from page 24)

85–100 lbs. liveweight, gradual increase to 3 ½ gallons per day.

100–115 lbs. liveweight, gradual increase to 3 ¼ gallons per day.

The value of supplementing skim-milk with roots is very important and fodder beet and similar roots help to give a balanced diet. Meal is costly but can be used to advantage with young pigs and particularly over the winter.

Chief points in production of high quality carcasses

1.

Marketing conditions at present make it necessary to strive for the highest quality possible in both porker and baconer carcasses.

2.

Careful selection of good breeding stock as certain carcass characteristics are strongly inherited.

3.

Backfat on which commercial grading is largely based is capable of being controlled by feeding.

The most recent trends show a preference for smaller cuts and leaner meat. Though meat should be prime and tender it must carry only a moderate fat cover. As pigs reach maturity they tend to put on fat more rapidly and may become overfat if allowed to grow at full rate.

4.

Early development of lean meat is essential.

5.

Careful management and observation, particularly with regard to feeding is essential for high quality carcasses.

To summarise the important features in pig farming:—

1.

Suitable layout with adequate housing and access to grass.

2.

Selection of good breeding stock and use of a suitable cross.

3.

Attention to mating and times of farrowing in relation to milk supply.

4.

Careful attention to sow whilst in pig and at farrowing time.

5.

Care and feeding of the litter during the suckling period so that the maximum weight has been gained by weaning time.

6.

Strict attention to feeding and weights of pigs so as to obtain the maximum price for high quality carcasses.

* * *

The Ngarimu Scholarships for 1954 were awarded to: David Yates, Whakarewarewa Maori School, Rotorua; and Rangi Bennett, Te Hauke Maori School, Hastings, and formerly of Potaka Maori School, Hicks Bay.

* * *

A Puha (East Coast) dairy farmer, Mr Pehe Tu, won the Judge Carr Cup for citrus growing for the second year in succession.

The award is made for citrus growing in the Tairawhiti district, which stretches from Te Araroa to Raupunga. Growers with six or more citrus trees are eligible.