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close this bookRegenerative Agriculture Technologies for the Hill Farmers of Nepal: An Information Kit (IIRR, 1992, 210 p.)
close this folderLivestock and fodder
View the documentFeed Shortages and Seasonality Issues of Livestock in the Hills
View the documentSilage and Crop Residues as Fodder Supplement
View the documentFodder Sources from Trees and Shrubs of Nepal
View the documentExotic Fodder Species as Potential Alternatives to Ipil-Ipil
View the documentPropagation of Fodder Grasses
View the documentPropagation of Fodder Trees
View the documentGrasses and Fodder Trees for Terrace Risers
View the documentNB-21 Grass on Terrace Risers and Bunds
View the documentSalt Licks for Livestock
View the documentThe Large Leafed Mulberry: A Promising Nutritive Fodder for Scarcity Period
View the documentManagement of Breeding Pigs
View the documentUse of Sihundi for the Treatment of roundworms in Pigs
View the documentSmall-Scale Goat Raising
View the documentAngora Rabbit for Wool Production

Management of Breeding Pigs


Pigs are raised throughout the world except in some extreme desert and alpine climates. They have proven themselves capable to produce on a variety of feeds. One pregnant sow properly managed can soon be the basis of a small herd which can supply food and income for the family. To ensure good returns. breeding pigs should be well-managed.


For improved offspring, the selection of a good mother and father is important


· Select from a good milking mother, with a large average litter size.
· Fastest growing and the biggest females from the herd.
· Females without any physical damage.
· At least 12 well-developed teats.
· Purchase from disease-free stock.


· Males with well-developed muscles
· Males without any physical damage
· Select from fast-growing males and large litter size
· Well-developed testicles which are equal in size.
· Select from bloodlines not related to your female stock.


Normally, male and female are separated at 5 months' age. Females may come into heat at this age which is too early for mating for good production. For large litter size, the age at first mating should be 8 months when both animals weigh about 90-100 kg. Similarly, young boars below one year of age should be used only on alternate days.


With proper feeding management at least two farrowings can be achieved from one sow in a year.

The best seasons for farrowing are from March to mid-June and from September to November.

Therefore, by calculating the gestation period of sows (114 days, 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days) the appropriate time for breeding can be planned.

The heat cycle for pigs is 18-24 day intervals. Heat detection is important for proper breeding of pigs and is best detected by boars. Routine heat detection (once in the morning and again in the late afternoon) is a must to ensure proper breeding.

Heat detection signs

· Restlessness and noisy
· Mounts the other pigs
· Vagina will be swollen and red
· Stands still when male is nearby
· Stands still when pressed on the back (right time to be bred)

A sow should be mated for the second time 12 hours after the first mating to increase the litter size. A sow comes into heat 3-8 days after weaning her litter. At this time, she should be bred if her condition is good. Otherwise, it is better to bred her in the next heat cycle.


Pregnant sows need a good balanced diet and should neither be too fat nor too lean. She should be provided 2.5 kg concentrate mixture each day at the beginning and 3.0 kg daily during the last month of pregnancy. (See sample concentrate rations on the last page.) It is better to keep pregnant sows separately penned so that they will not injure each other. If possible, pregnant sows should be allowed to exercise through grazing. Also provide greens which will benefit the piglets in the womb. Plenty of clean drinking water should be made available.


Boars in good condition should not unfavourably affect the size of litters which he sires. A boar is half of the herd. Litters sired by boars with low vitality or by heavily used boars will be small. For proper maintenance, boars should be fed the same ration as the sows. Mature boars can be used for breeding once a day; whereas the young boars (under one year) can be used on alternate days.


From 25 to 30 percent of the pigs farrowed never reach the weaning stage; 80 to 90 percent of these deaths occur shortly after farrowing. Sows should be penned one week before farrowing. A 6' by 10' or 12' pen with a nest at one end for piglets and a feeding and dunging area for the sow at the other end is recommended. One week before the sow is placed in the pen, it should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Farrowing quarters should be bedded with dust-free material (straw). Laxative ration should be fed in moderate amount one or two days before and after farrowing.

At farrowing time, it is important to be available to help the sow. It is important to keep peace in the shed. Sows become nervous as they approach farrowing time and may pace the pen and scrape bedding materials. Most sows farrow within 24 hours after milk develops in the nipples. During the cold season, the piglets should be dried and placed under the heat lamps or in the nest as they are born.

Maternity system

Immediately after farrowing, the navel cord of the piglet should be cut leaving only 2 inches. The cut should be treated with tincture of iodine. If possible, needle teeth of the newborn piglets should also be clipped.

Sow's milk is deficient in iron and copper. To prevent the piglets from becoming anemic, they should be provided clean soil or injected with iron at 3 and 10 days age.

Vaccinations for swine fever, FMD and HS should be given after weaning and should be repeated every six months. Males not used for breeding can be castrated at four weeks. Piglets should be dewormed after weaning and then every six months. Vaccinations, castrations and deworming should not be done at the same time because of the stress they can cause to the animal.

Early weaning will save feed, reduce weight loss of the sow and permit early breeding. Piglets can be weaned as early as four weeks of age, depending upon the quality of the ration. The piglets should always have access to clean drinking water. If possible, creep feed may be provided after the piglets are one week old.

During the nursing time, a sow should be provided extra feed according to her litter size. In addition to her usual ration, 250 gm per nursing piglet should be fed.


Piglets can be sold after weaning if they are not to be kept for replacement stock. If the piglets are kept for fattening, they should be sold when they reach a body weight of 80-100 kg. Regular culling should be done to maintain good productive stock.




After farrowing 6 8 litter

Older than 4-5 years

Two continuous abortions

Weak legs

Low weaning litter size

Does not service or breed

No heat symptoms within first one and a half years of age

Many repeat breeders sired from this sire.

Will not breed after four consecutive attempts with the boar

Body Weight Estimation of Live Pigs
Body weight (live) = (L × G²)/600 kg

L = Length of the body from shoulder point to pin bone G = Hearth girth of the animal (Both L and G are measured in inches.)

Sample concentrate rations

15% C.P.

Rice bran


Wheat bran




Soybean (roasted)


Mineral mixture


Bone meal


Common salt


Rice bran




Soybean (roasted)


Mustard cake (roasted)


Bone meal


Common salt