Pigs

Course CodeBAG209
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
  

Improve your knowledge and skills, learn about:

  • Pig husbandry and welfare
  • Pig health and disease management
  • Nutrition and feeding
  • Selective breeding and herd management

Learn pig management: for commercial production, self sufficiency, or a hobby.

This course is relevant to a range of production systems: extensive, intensive and free range. A solid foundation course to develop a broad understanding of pig husbandry, biology and production; covers breeding and selection, nutrition and feeding, health and disease, boar management, sow and litter management, fattening pigs, record keeping and much more.

Tutors and Course Developers include agricultural scientists, veterinary professionals, farmers and former university lecturers. The course has been running for many decades; with regular revisions every few years if not more often. It provides a substantial foundation in pig husbandry, with an emphasis on learning all that is needed to manage the practical daily needs of pigs. 

Pathways –where this course may take you!
  • Piggery manger
  • Free range pig farmer
  • Piggery hand
  • Pig breeder
  • Self sufficiency
  • Go onto further study

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Background to pig raising
    • Pig Farming
    • Pig Husbandry terms
    • Hybrids in pig farming
    • Pig breeds
    • Pig Production systems
    • Building systems
    • Environmental controls
    • Building materials
    • Floors
    • Pig pens
    • Waterers and feeders
    • Fencing
    • Waste water treatment using reed beds
    • Water flow
    • Anaerobic ponds
    • Suitable plants
  2. Breeding and selection
    • Heritability in pigs
    • Testing pig performance
    • Points for selection
    • Pure breeding
    • Cross breeding
    • Crossbreeding systems
    • Single cross
    • Back crossing
    • Rotational crossing
    • Hybrid breeding
    • Artificial insemination
    • Animal selection
  3. Feeding Pigs
    • Types of rations
    • Energy requirements
    • Protein requirements
    • Mineral requirements
    • Vitamin requirements
    • Digestive system
    • Understanding feeding
    • Feeding on pasture
  4. Pig diseases
    • General health problems
    • Management practices
    • Notifiable pig diseases
    • Some major diseases affecting all pigs
    • Diseases affecting sows
    • Diseases of growing and fattening pigs
    • Handling and restraining pigs
    • Vices in pigs
    • Summary of pig diseases
    • Pre-weaning period
    • Post-weaning period
    • Breeder pigs
  5. Managing the boar
    • Selecting a boar
    • Housing
    • Feeding
    • Health
    • Breeding
  6. Managing the sow and litter
    • Selection of gilts
    • Housing
    • Feeding
    • Weaning
    • Ovulation
    • During pregnancy
    • Before farrowing
    • Farrowing
    • Lactation
    • After farrowing
    • Management of the suckling pig
    • Marking Pigs and Ear Notching
    • Points to consider at weaning
  7. Management of Fattening pigs
    • Feeding fatteners
    • Housing
    • Transporting to market
    • Cuts of pig meat
  8. Economics and records
    • Efficiency factors
    • Gross output
    • Records
    • Pig Calender
    • Pig Ration
    • Pig Register
    • Sow Record
  9. Managing a Piggery
    • Research innovative practices
    • Evaluate the production performance of a specified piggery.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Select appropriate pig breeds for different purposes.
  • Explain how to manage the breeding of pigs.
  • Explain the physical facilities, including buildings and equipment of a pig farm.
  • Explain the procedures used in managing the condition, including the health and feeding of pigs.
  • Explain the husbandry operations associated with pig farming.
  • Develop strategies for marketing, including both traditional and innovative marketing plans of pigs and pig products.
  • Develop different strategies, including both traditional and innovative approaches, to manage the general operations associated with pig farming.

What You Will Do

  • List the commercial breeds of pigs being successfully farmed in a specified locality.
  • Compare the different characteristics of common breeds of pigs including appearance; hardiness and commercial potential
  • Select appropriate pig breeds for three different specified situations.
  • Explain heritability factors relevant to pig breeding.
  • Explain how pig performance testing is carried out by one experienced tester.
  • List factors which affect the selection of pigs for breeding.
  • Compare applications for straight breeding with cross breeding of pigs in a specified locality.
  • Describe how the process of artificial insemination of a pig is carried out by an experienced technician.
  • Explain the different husbandry operations carried out during each of the different stages of pig breeding, including:
    • Weaning to service
    • Early pregnancy
    • Mid pregnancy
    • Late pregnancy
    • Lactation
  • List the minimum facilities, including equipment and buildings necessary for growing healthy pigs.
  • Recommend three items of machinery which can be used to automate a piggery operation, including details of:
    • the supplier
    • cost
    • technical specifications
  • Explain the housing requirements of pigs in a commercial production enterprise, in the learner's locality.
  • Compare housing requirements for boars with those for sows, in a piggery visited by the learner.
  • Develop maintenance guidelines for pig shelters, including large and small sheds.
  • Prepare a sketch design of an area for farming pigs, showing the location of major facilities.
  • Assess the disposal system(s) being used for effluent at a specified piggery.
  • Explain the concept of reed bed treatment of effluent, for a piggery.
  • List pests and diseases that commonly affect pigs.
  • Develop a checklist of general signs which indicate ill health in pigs.
  • Describe three significant pests or diseases of pigs, including their symptoms and effect.
  • Explain a treatment for each of three different common pests or diseases in pigs.
  • Determine the health status of a unit of pigs at a piggery, using a checklist you develop.
  • Report on the significance of health services for pigs, including veterinary and quarantine services, as used on a piggery visited by the learner
  • Explain a vaccination program, including what it is, how it is performed and it's expected benefits, that is used at a specific piggery.
  • Explain the function of the different parts of a pigs digestive system, including the:
    • oesophagus
    • stomach
    • duodenum
    • intestines
    • colon
    • anus
  • List various food sources for different food nutrients for pigs, including:
    • Carbohydrates
    • Proteins
    • Minerals
    • Vitamins
  • Analyse the ingredients in a pig diet, being used at a commercial piggery.
    • Describe food ration requirements for a specific pig, with reference to:
    • Carbohydrates
    • Proteins
    • Minerals
    • Vitamins
  • Prepare a sample of pig feed suitable for either a boar, a weaner, or a porker.
  • Explain the differences in feeding pigs under different circumstances, including:
    • young pigs
    • growing pigs
    • gestating sows
    • lactating sows
    • replacement gilts
    • breeding boars
  • Explain the techniques used to physically handle pigs in different situations, including:
    • at a piggery
    • during transportation
    • during slaughter for meat
    • when showing
  • Prepare a timetable of husbandry tasks, from weaning to marketing, for fattening a pig.
  • Compare two different, but commercially viable, systems of raising pigs, with reference to costs; materials; equipment; labour and production output
  • Prepare an annual program of routine pig husbandry tasks, for a specified enterprise.
  • List pig products commonly sold through retail outlets in a specified locality.
  • Analyse wholesale and retail marketing systems for pig products.
  • Explain the factors affecting sales of pig products, over a twelve month period, in a specific locality.
  • Explain the factors affecting the cost of pig products, over twelve months, in a specific locality.
  • Analyse the marketing of a specified pig product from the farm through to the consumer, including associated work tasks, and costs involved.
  • Write an innovative plan for the marketing of pigs or a specified pig product.
  • List factors which affect the profitability of a pig farm in a specified locality.
  • Evaluate the production performance of a specified piggery.
  • Explain the organisational structure of a specified piggery.
  • Write a job specification for one member of staff of a piggery.
  • Assess the impact of staff interactions on productivity in a specified piggery.
  • Recommend ways to increase unit performance of a piggery reviewed in a case study.
  • Write a management procedure, including contingency arrangements, for control of production targets and budgeted costs on a pig farm.
  • Explain the legal requirements and regulations appropriate to operating a commercial piggery in a specified locality.
  • Analyse the procedures involved in purchasing a specific piggery which is advertised for sale.
  • Determine three innovations in the pig industry, which may improve management of a specified pig enterprise.
  • Evaluate three different innovations being used in the pig industry.
  • Develop a production plan for pigs on a specified property, which includes:
    • a production timetable
    • details of animals required
    • lists of facilities required
    • materials requirements
    • a schedule of husbandry tasks
    • cost estimates
  • Design a form for record keeping of appropriate piggery data.

Selective breeding and herd improvement is an important aspect of pig production. One way of achieving this may be through hybrid breeding (which is covered in this course -see the below sample).

Extract from the course:

HYBRID BREEDING

"One of the first companies to carry out a hybrid pig breeding program was the British Oil and Cake Millers (COCM) in the UK. Their pig improvement scheme was begun in 1963 because research had shown that many commercial strains of pigs were unable to make the best use of the company's improved pig rations. Work was carried out on the company's farms in the UK with the aim of improving three breeds: the Landrace, the Large White and the Saddleback and to produce a three-way cross hybrid pig with an overall performance that was 25% than the average.

 

The scheme started with the purchase of one thousand weaner pigs, of which only 30% were acceptable genetically and visually. All the gilt pigs were performance tested, and the best 12-5% went into the foundation herd. The best sows were subsequently used to breed boars. The selection of boars was so strict that less than one in two hundred and fifty male pigs were finally used. The final hybrid pigs are used for both pork and bacon production.

 

Most breeders of hybrid pigs work with large numbers and use carefully selected and pure breeds. Two of these breeds are crossed to produce the hybrid sow with the benefits of improved litter numbers, milking ability and better health and vigour. The hybrid sow is then mated to an improved boar of another pure breed to produce the hybrid bacon or pork pig.

 

Hybrid sows are produced by "multiplying breeders" who get their breeding stock from hybrid breeding companies. These multiplying breeders usually work on a contract basis and are paid by the companies to look after the pigs. The commercial farmer buys his hybrid gilts from the company and the pure bred boars from the same company. A typical hybrid breeding program is shown in the table on the next page."

 
People who are successful are those who are passionate, persistent and prepared to do whatever it takes to succeed. If this describes you; we can help you to get a start. 
 

What Should You Study?

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Use our free career and course counselling service.

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Credentials

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

ACS is recognised as an institution by IARC
ACS is recognised as an institution by IARC



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