By: Jonathan Jalali
In pig production, the first step is breeding-gestation. In this stage sows are in separate pens and boars are placed in each pen and switched around to make sure each sow gets bred. If a sow misses being bred during an estrous it takes 21 days to have the ability to conceive again. After successive breeding, it takes 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days for the piglets to be born.
The next stage of pig production is farrowing. In this stage sows are moved to farrowing rooms where they give birth to about 8 to 12 piglets. This is known as a litter. The piglets spend most of their time in a creep where they have access to their mother but are also protected from being crushed. Pigs are born with 8 sharp teeth and curly tails, the tips of the teeth are clipped to prevent damage to the mother's utters and the tail is shortened to prevent tail biting. Piglets weigh about three pounds and are weaned from the sow anywhere from 5 days to 4 weeks.
The next stage is nursery and in this stage pigs are moved to a nursery where they have access to water and feed. The rooms are about 85 degrees and have slotted floors that are 8 to 12 inches above the ground to prevent the piglets from becoming cold do to floor drafts. The temperature of the room drops gradually to about 70 degrees as the pigs grow. Pigs are moved from the nursery at about 6 to 10 weeks.
The final stage of pig production is grow-finishing. In this stage pigs are allowed to eat as much as they want util they reach market weight, which is about 250-270 pounds and it takes about 1000 pounds of feed for this to happen. Marketing usually occurs at ages of about 5 to 6 months and each pig is provided about 8 squared feet of room. Some gilts, which are what the pigs are called at this age, are returned from the grow-finishing stage to the sow herd for breeding purposes, or to replace old sows that are culled. Animals in the grow-finish stage produce a lot of heat. Ventilation to keep the animals cool is more of a concern then keeping them warm in the winter. Pigs at this age grow best with temperatures from about 60 to 70 degrees.