Pregnant sowsPregnancy lasts 114 to 116 days. Sows are put in the pregnant sow pen about 24 days after service and are only moved to the farrowing pen seven days before they give birth. They stay in these pens for about 85 days. The pens can be similar to dry sow pens. Provided the sows are about the same size, up to five pregnant sows can be kept in one pen. To make sure that each pig receives the correct quantity of feed, provision should again be made for individual feeding. The construction of this pen is also similar to that described for boar pens. At least two and preferably three pens (to house a maximum of five pregnant sows each) are needed.
Farrowing pensThe farrowing pen is the most important pen on the farm. It has to be designed in such a way that the right temperature is provided for the sow and her piglets during the first seven to 10 days after birth, while trampling and overlying is prevented as far as possible.
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A sow in a farrowing crate
|Section AA (seen from above)|
Note: Use 16 mm and 20 mm diameter steel pipes and rods for farrowing crate construction.
Weaner and finishing house (growing pigs)Piglets are weaned when they are only 28 days old. They must therefore be looked after with care for at least another four to six weeks until they are 10 weeks old. They must be kept in pens at a temperature of 17 to 25 °C and draughts and wet conditions should be prevented.
It is advisable to keep the growing and finishing pigs in pens similar to those used for weaners.
A weaner/finisher house with 20 pens must therefore be built. Each pen
must be large enough to house a litter of 10 to 12 pigs, kept in the pen from the age of four weeks until they are sold at a live weight of 90 to 110 kg. Two rows of 10 pens are built in the house. The building will be 40 m long and 9 m wide. The individual pens, should be 12 m2 or 4 x 3 m with 1 m high concrete walls, and two 1 m wide dung passages along the north and south walls of the building with a feeding passage, 1 m wide in the middle between the two rows of pens. The entrance to the building is again to the short side of the building with a 1 m space between the outside wall and the first pen linked to the feed and dung passages. The entrance gates to the pens are on the side of the feed passage. Water troughs or drinking nipples are fixed to the pen walls facing towards the dung passages.
|The pigs will lie down and sleep along the inside wall of the pen where the feed trough is placed. Growing pigs must have access to feed at all times. It is therefore ideal to use self-feeders. An effective self-feeder can be set in such a way that feed wastage is restricted to a minimum (feed is expensive and must not be wasted by the pigs). A long concrete trough built next to the feed passage wall, can also be used, but usually causes the pigs to waste feed and is therefore not recommended.|| |
If you want to keep piglets healthy and alive, keep them warm, and if you want the sows to have enough milk for the piglets, keep them cool
Handling of manureThe solid manure which contains some bedding must be stacked outside in windrows. It is important to stack the manure in such a way that water will be allowed to drain from the manure as quickly as possible. Stacked manure has an unpleasant smell and becomes a breeding place for flies if left in a windrow for a long period. It is therefore, essential to air the manure in the windrow by turning it regularly. The oxygen in the air keeps the anaerobic bacteria in the manure alive and in this way helps to turn the manure into valuable compost. On a 20-sow pig farm up to 300 tons of composted manure can be produced every year. The compost can be used as fertiliser on cultivated lands or can be sold as compost.
An income equal to the sale of 20 baconers is possible if good-quality compost is produced
Make compost by adding soil, grass cuttings, leaves, etc. It can be used as fertiliser on cultivated lands or can be sold for an extra income
Diagrammes of required buildingsBuild three pig houses:
Building plans and equipmentDetailed building plans and information on the equipment required on a pig farm can be obtained from the ARC Institute for Agricultural Engineering, Private Bag X519, Silverton 0127, tel: (012) 842 4000. The Institute can also advise you on the outlay of the unit. The figureon the following page.
Outdoor housing of pigs
weaning to slaughter (minimum 16 and maximum 20 needed
for a farm with 20 breeding sows)
|Sketch with dimensions of a building |
for sows with piglets (farrowing house)
|Outside wall and roof dimensions of the buildings (length of the building should be east/west)|
Requirements for outdoor pig farmingA suitable climate, the correct type of ground surface and well-trained, motivated labourers are essential.
RainfallDo not farm out of doors in high-rainfall areas—more than 500 to 800 mm per year.
Soil typeThe soil must be light and well drained. Camps, pens and paths that are always wet can ruin the unit.
Level of the groundFairly level ground that does not slope too much is needed. Too much of a slope will hamper access to the unit. Earth and straw will also wash away if the slope is too big.
Services• Provide good water supply to all the camps and pens.
• The camps must be accessible to vehicles for loading and offloading of pigs.
Example of a camp system for 25 producing sows(ILI Extensive Pig Housing, ARC Institute for Agricultural Engineering, Silverton)
The sows are divided into groups of five and remain together in their groups in the camps.
The table shows the number of camps, pigs and camp sizes for a 25-sow unit.
|Type of camp||Number of camps||Number of pigs per camp||Proposed camp size (m2)|
|Boar||1||5 sows x 2 boars||3 000|
|Dry sow||5||5 sows x 1 boar||3 000|
|Farrowing||1||5 sows x litter||3 000|
|Weaning||1||5 sows x litter||2 000|
|At least 4,55 ha of land is therefore needed for erecting the camps. Land is also required for a feed and equipment store, houses for the farmer and workers as well as roads.|