Pigs and Management & Housing
Management and housing practices vary worldwide. Commercial producers are developing larger and larger specialized farms, and nucleus herds commonly provide breeding animals and semen for artificial insemination; weaned piglets are transferred to fattening units where they are kept until they reach slaughter weight. Adequate housing is essential if this system is to be economically feasible: among other requirements, pigs must be housed indoors on partially or fully slatted flooring, with manure storage facilities; temperature, humidity and light intensity must be controlled; and bio-security measures must be in place.
In small-scale subsistence production, pigs are usually not distinguished as breeding or fattening animals unless piglets are purchased from an external source to be fattened. Housing varies substantially in and among regions: the norm is simple constructions of local materials that confine and shelter the animals. Free-roaming pigs are common in the developing world – this type of husbandry requires the fewest inputs and relies on the pigs’ natural scavenging behaviour. The fact that pigs can be fed on household and agricultural waste products makes landless pig production feasible on a small scale in rural areas and, increasingly, in peri-urban areas.