Pig keeping and care

Young growth

Piglets with long body, wide and deep chest, with elastic skin should be preferred. In meat breeds the tail is necessarily twisted spiral , it is a sign of good muscle development throughout the body. Eyes should be clean, without excretions and injuries, without eyelid swelling, with a clear and vivid look. The head of a healthy pig has a proportional length. Good piglets are distinguished by mobility.


Preparation of the premises begins with the removal of feed and litter after release from the piglets. At first mechanical cleaning of manure and dirt of machines, floors, feeders, drinking bowls, windows, doors, passages, auxiliary rooms and a ground run is carried out. The surfaces are washed with hot water until the structure and color of the surface are visible. If necessary, the room and equipment are repaired, after which the floor is washed again.

Disinfection is carried out with hot solutions of disinfectants in doses according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Disinfection of the premises is carried out before or after the end of a certain production cycle.

In large farms there is a widespread system of keeping pigs indoors in individual, group pens from birth to sale. The target space requirement is shown in the table. According to the EU regulation the 1 head should have an average of 0.6 m2 of space.

Space requirement for animals of different ages

Gender and age group Weight, kg Space for 1 head, m2
Piglets up to 10 0,15
Piglets after weaning 10-20 0,2
Piglets after weaning 20-30 0,3
Piglets on growing 30-50 0,4
Fattening pigs 50-85 0,55
Fattening pigs 85-110 0,65
Fattening pigs from 110 1,0
Sows for group keeping 1,5 m2 without feeding area
Sows for individual keeping 2,1*0,6 m2 pen without feeder
Pregnant sows 2,4*0,85 m2 pen
Boars 6 m2

The slotted floor is a much easier process for breeding pigs – a convenient coating through which a self-alloying excrement system is carried out. The slotted floor is a complex engineering structure consisting of two levels: the first is used to organize living space for piglets, and the second is used to remove excreta. The implementation of the slotted floor is possible at the stage of planning or reconstruction of the building.

Scheme of a lattice floor in a piggery.

Scheme of a lattice floor in a piggery.

The slotted floor is made of concrete, metal or plastic, so the owner chooses the manufacturer according to the preference and cost, depending on the direction and technology of retention.

Pigs keeping

Pigs are fattened at the age of 11-12 weeks with an average weight of 30 kg. Weight can range from 22 to 38 kg. The need for feeders and water bowls depending on the age of the piglets is given in the table.

Normative indicators for piglets’ retention and feeding

Gender and age group Age, days Approximate weight, kg t indoors,0 C
Pressure in the nipple water bowl l/min Height from the floor, cm
Cup-shaped Nipple, 45′ Nipple, 90′
Suckling piglets 21 6 30* 0,5 5 15 10
28 8 28*
Nursery 35 10 27* 1-1,5 15-20 30-50 25-35
42 12-30 26*
49 25*
56 24*
63 23*
70 22
77 22
Fattening 78-115 30-60 18-20 1,5-2 30-35 60-90 45-60
116-175 60-115 2-2,5
Pregnant sows * 17-18 2,5-3 40 90 75
Lactating sows * 3-4 **
Breeding boar * 2,5-3 40

* – depending on genetics;

** – depends on the pen design.

When placing pigs on fattening, the whole section should be filled at once. It is advisable to record all information about the disease, weight and number of animals. Animals of similar weight are selected in one pen and preferably from neighboring pens. The better the piglets know each other, the quieter the production will be. When the group is complete, it is not recommended to change its composition. If animals unknown to them enter the pen, additional area is required in case of hierarchical struggle so that animals can escape. Sometimes significant animal density, poor ventilation, lack of straw, water deficiency and delayed feeding can cause fights. This can be warned by placing toys: balls, tires, etc. If there is a problem of tailing, the material for digging can help: straw, hay, beet, branches, in other words, organic material that can be eaten or pulled to pieces.

Air temperature

Microclimate and air temperature significantly affect livestock productivity, growth and development. At high air temperature, pigs can overheat the body, what reduces appetite and food eating, what will affect average daily increases. If it is cold indoors, the animals will spend a lot of energy on self-heating, which will increase feed intake and increase feeding costs.

High humidity increases the negative impact of low temperature: the body begins to spend more energy on self-heating – after supercooling there are cold diseases, the body delays heat, causing drowsiness, reduction of immunity, metabolism, problems with the work of the gastrointestinal tract.

Moisture reduction is possible with the help of quicklime. In addition, it is necessary to clean the pens regularly, remove manure but not moisturize the floor.


Fattening pigs need fresh air all the time, but the airflow rate and humidity level should be normal. Typical errors in the operation of climate control systems can be drafts in the rest area when the airflow rate is higher than 0.2 m/s. The reasons for this situation may be the influence of outside air circulation, errors in the design of the ventilation system, incorrect arrangement of pens, lack of maintenance, etc.

Depending on the type of premises and the capacity of the enterprise, natural and forced ventilation can be used. The air usually enters through the window leafs in the side walls, mixes with warm air and exits through the deflectors in the ceiling. Deflector valve allows controlling air speed. For forced ventilation fans of different power are installed into exhaust deflectors. In a well-ventilated room, dust and bacteria levels are reduced. It is necessary to constantly monitor the content of harmful substances in the air: ammonia concentration should not exceed 0.02 mg/l, hydrogen sulphide – 0.015 mg/l, carbon dioxide – 0.2%.

The ventilation system shall ensure air flow into the room with animals at a speed not higher than 0.4 m/s in summer and 0.15 m/s in winter. The amount of fresh air per 100 kg of live weight should be supplied in winter – 35 m33/h, in summer – 60 m3/h, and in transition time of the year – 45 m33/h.


In piggeries the lighting duration is usually 16 hours and for pigs on fattening can be reduced to 10 hours. With this lighting mode, natural and artificial lighting types with intensity of 50-100 Lx are usually combined. Additional artificial lighting in winter has a positive effect on stability and sexual development, however lighting intensity should not be less than 50 Lx.


The purpose of keeping pigs for fattening is to get as much meat as possible at the lowest cost. Feed costs are the most important elements of the economy of the farm, as their part of the total expenditure is about 65%. When phase feeding is used, feed mixtures are changed during the feeding period to reduce protein and amino acid content. With age, the need for amino acids in pigs decreases, respectively, phase feeding increases protein utilization and reduces nitrogen content in excretions.

Timely receipt of quality feed after birth is a guarantee of productivity in general. To this end, even suckling pigs are advised to feed pre-start compound feed ТОП ПС with Diamante until reaching a regulatory weight of 10 kg. Early administration of this feed ensures successful growth of piglets due to accelerated development of digestive system. Feeding with pre-starter feed allows the enzyme system of piglets to be converted from milk feeding to plant feed in a timely manner, which facilitates the weaning process.

Stimulation of appetite and additional consumption of pre-start compound feed by piglets positively affects secretion of digestive enzymes and development of villi. Pre-starter both on the suckling and after weaning should be unrestricted. Combined feed should be filled with small portions, as consumption up to 15-17 days is minimal. With increasing feed intake, the dose is increased by more frequent filling. The combine feed should be 24 hours a day in the feeder, as the piglets feed at night. Pre-start compound feed is optimally balanced in composition and nutrition; provides piglets with all the nutrients that are deficient in milk and which are necessary for the intensive development and growth of piglets.

When reaching a weight of 10 kg and for fattening pigs up to 35 kg should be used feed Топ ПКс-3к in the form of crumbles. Feed energy is provided by cereals (barley, wheat, corn) and vegetable oil. The enzyme composition allows to release additional amount of energy by splitting of carbohydrates. Soy products (meal, cake, extrudate) provide a sufficient level of crude protein, and essential amino acids are balanced by the use of lysine hydrochloride, methionine and threonine. Soy products provide a high quality protein that is rich in limiting amino acids that complement the amino acid profile of cereals. In order to improve the gastrointestinal tract, to reduce the buffer capacity of the feed and to combat pathogenic microflora that may accidentally enter during the transportation of piglets, organic acids are included in the feed. The phytase complex allows the reduction of phosphorus emissions into the environment by increasing its availability due to the splitting of phytic acid salts. The balance of calcium and phosphorus is achieved through the combined use of limestone and monocalcium phosphate, and the vitamin-mineral complex (premix Novacore) supplements the diet with important trace elements and vitamins. A daily intake of about 1 kg of starting compound feed achieves a standard weight of 35 kg for up to 75 days.

The period of fattening pigs lasts from 76 to 175 days, divided into two periods – grover from 76 to 115 (weight to 60 kg) and finishing from 116 to 175 days (weight from 60 kg to 115 kg). However, each period has its own characteristics regarding the nature and quantity of feed intake.

In piglets weighing up to 50-60 kg, feed intake is determined by the ability of the gastrointestinal tract to digest the feed. When the digestive system is full, the feeling of hunger disappears in pigs – it is the physical regulation of feeding. Piglets weighing up to 50-60 should receive feed Топ ПКс-4г ad libitum. Piglets must have access to feed 24 hours a day, but feeders must be free from feed at least once a week to ensure fresh feed is available. The feed manufacturer uses the availability of essential amino acids from raw material components for pigs to calculate fully balanced recipes, so the consumer receives optimal feed.

Piglets weighing more than 60 kg are dominated by the chemical type of regulation of feed consumption when the feeling of hunger occurs when nutrients in the blood decrease. Pigs with high levels of feed conversion, due to their genetic potential, are able to consume more feed than needed while chemical regulation begins to reduce feed consumption. Therefore, such piglets are stopped feeding 30 minutes after feed is dispensed. In piglets with a live weight of more than 60 kg, feeders should be emptied for 15-30 minutes. The feeding rate during this period is from 2 to 5 times. During the finishing period, the Топ ПКс-5г feed should be used in achieving the standard slaughter weight. This diet for feeding pigs is optimized according to the rules of the ideal protein, despite restrictions in feeding, pigs reach slaughter condition according to the plan.

Nutrient Indicators of “TOPKORM” TM combined feed

Item Net energy, kcal Crude protein, % Ca, % P, % Na, % Lysine % Cystine + methionine, % Threonine, % А, thous. МО/kg D3, thous. МО/kg г Е, mg/kg Se, мг/кг Zn, мг/кг
Топ ПКс-1 г for pregnant saws and replacements (granule) 2255,00 14,5 0,75 0,45 0,18 0,80 0,47 0,52 12,00 2,00 100,00 0,25 80,001
Топ ПКс-2 г for Lactating saws (granule) 2275,00 16,00 0,95 0,55 0,18 0,87 0,51 0,57 12,00 2,00 100,00 0,25 80,00
ТОП ПС with Diamante premium pre-starter (granule) 2375,00 18,50 0,43 0,50 0,20 1,55 1,00 1,10 20,00 2,00 100,00 0,40 100,00
ТопПКс-3к starter (crumble) 2315,00 17,00 0,75 0,50 0,19 1,05 0,62 0,68 15,00 2,00 100,00 0,35 100,00
Топ ПКс-4г grover (granule) 2270,00 15,00 0,70 0,48 0,18 0,93 0,55 0,60 10,00 1,50 90,00 0,30 80,00
Топ ПКс-5г finish (granule) 2200,00 14,00 0,65 0,43 0,17 0,78 0,46 0,51 8,00 1,00 75,00 0,25 60,00



When growing pigs on an industrial scale, it is necessary to install an automatic piglet nipple watering system. Depending on the age of the piglets, cup and nipple drinker are used. Access to water in animals should be 24 hours a day, and water should be clean, without impurities and smell.

Water quality

Indicator Limit concentration, mg/l
Soluble solids 1000
Hardness Up to 7 mg equ/l
рН 6-9
Sulphates 500
Chlorides 350
Plumbum 0,03
Arsenic 0,06
Iron 0,3
Fluorine 1,5
Colibacillus 0 cfu/ml

During thirst, pigs reduce appetite, eating feed and assimilation. The optimum water temperature should be 12-150 0С. Pigs after weaning consume about 5 liters of water per day, and pigs for fattening – 15 liters. In summer it is necessary to increase the watering rate by 25%.

Pigs’ need for water

Age groups Water quantity, l/day
Barren saw, pregnant saw 25
Lactating saw 60
Piglets after weaning 5
Pigs for fattening, replacements 15

It is necessary to keep the correct installation of drinking bowls in the farm as there is a risk of injury to the animals. Ideal for height adjustable drinking bowls.

The use of cup bowls reduces the risk of water being poured, and pigs after weaning drink water better from them as they search for water on the floor.

Reduction of disease risks: the technology of pig keeping provides for the use of a scheme of preventive treatments and vaccinations recommended by the supplier of young pigs. In case of any animal health problems, it is necessary to consult a veterinary doctor.