Saturday, November 25, 2017
The advantages of raising pigs. Pigs have fast growth rates and good feed-to-meat conversion ratios; are relatively easy to raise, and do not require much space; have prolific breeding potential; and are docile. These factors not only lead to increased profitability but will surely assist in meeting the growing demand for meat in future. Pork consumption is likely to increase even more due to lower production costs. About 36% of meat eaten by humans annually is pork, followed by poultry (35%), and cattle and buffalo (22%). Lamb and mutton, come in at a distant 4,6%. Many factors affect these trends such as religious beliefs, environmental conditions, pricing and the growth of the human population. Livestock producers continually strive to breed the ‘ultimate animal’ – one that grows faster and converts food to meat better, carries more meat in valuable areas of the carcass, and has a better temperament for ease of handling. It is possible to choose a specific breed or certain outcrosses to satisfy a particular market. For example, very fat pigs may not be useful for the production of belly or ‘streaky’ bacon, as the bacon will have more fat than meat. Pigs usually breed twice a year, and produce about 12 piglets in a litter. These weigh about 1,1kg at birth and, unlike any other livestock, may double their weight in the first week of life if they obtain sufficient milk from the sow. Piglets can be weaned at two to four weeks and can be slaughtered as ‘weaners’ at two to three months old. Other categories include ‘porkers’ (slaughtered at four months), ‘baconers’ (at eight months) and ‘sausage pigs’, elderly animals that are culled.