A career in pig production/husbandry?

Pig production can be highly sophisticated or unsophisticated. There are many different ways of producing pigs for market, ranging from more "natural" systems, where animals are farmed in paddocks, to "factory" like systems where animals spend virtually all of their life confined to small pens in large buildings with many husbandry tasks (e.g. feeding and watering) being automated.

This course develops a better understanding of pig biology and production, covering such things as:

  • Breeding and Selection
  • Feeding
  • Diseases
  • Managing the Boar
  • Managing the Sow and Litter
  • Fattening Pigs
  • Economics and Records etc.

Learn to raise pigs, either small scale or large scale

This course develops a better understanding of pig biology and production

Pigs can adapt well to small or large properties.

  • They are an omnivorous animal (they eat a very wide variety of foods- from virtually anything man eats, through to grass (grass alone is not a sufficient diet though).
  • Pigs will eat virtually any vegetable matter you give them.
  • In many ways, they are perhaps the cheapest source of meat to grow.
  • They can tolerate severe cold or wet, but need a dry place to sleep.


There are four main requirements for the successful raising of pigs:

  1. Select the best variety of animals for your situation
  2. Provide constant availability of adequate feed and water
  3. Provide adequate preventative medical care
  4. Provide adequate housing and shelter

Pigs do however differ from other farm animals, and for this reason need to be managed differently, even though these same four requirements still apply.



There are 9 lessons as follows:

1. Introduction
  • Background to pig raising
  • Pig Farming
  • Pig Husbandry terms
  • Hybrids in pig farming
  • Pig breeds
  • Pig Production systems
  • Building systems
  • Environmental controls
  • Building materials
  • Floors
  • Pig pens
  • Waterers and feeders
  • Fencing
  • Waste water treatment using reed beds
  • Water flow
  • Anaerobic ponds
  • Suitable plants
2. Breeding and selection
  • Heritability in pigs
  • Testing pig performance
  • Points for selection
  • Pure breeding
  • Cross breeding
  • Crossbreeding systems
  • Single cross
  • Back crossing
  • Rotational crossing
  • Hybrid breeding
  • Artificial insemination
  • Animal selection
3. Feeding Pigs
  • Types of rations
  • Energy requirements
  • Protein requirements
  • Mineral requirements
  • Vitamin requirements
  • Digestive system
  • Understanding feeding
  • Feeding on pasture
4. Pig diseases
  • General health problems
  • Management practices
  • Notifiable pig diseases
  • Some major diseases affecting all pigs
  • Diseases affecting sows
  • Diseases of growing and fattening pigs
  • Handling and restraining pigs
  • Vices in pigs
  • Summary of pig diseases
  • Pre-weaning period
  • Post-weaning period
  • Breeder pigs
5. Managing the boar
  • Selecting a boar
  • Housing
  • Feeding
  • Health
  • Breeding
6. Managing the sow and litter
  • Selection of gilts
  • Housing
  • Feeding
  • Weaning
  • Ovulation
  • During pregnancy
  • Before farrowing
  • Farrowing
  • Lactation
  • After farrowing
  • Management of the suckling pig
  • Marking Pigs and Ear Notching
  • Points to consider at weaning
7. Management of Fattening Pigs
  • Feeding fatteners
  • Housing
  • Transporting to market
  • Cuts of pig meat
8. Economics and records
  • Efficiency factors
  • Gross output
  • Records
  • Pig Calender
  • Pig Ration
  • Pig Register
  • Sow Record
9. Managing a Piggery
  • Research innovative practices
  • Evaluate the production performance of a specified piggery.
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


Duration: 100 hours


Course Aims

On successful completion of the course you should be able to do the following:

  • Select appropriate pig breeds for different purposes.
  • Explain how to manage the breeding of pigs.
  • Explain the physical facilities, including buildings and equipment of a pig farm.
  • Explain the procedures used in managing the condition, including the health and feeding of pigs.
  • Explain the husbandry operations associated with pig farming.
  • Develop strategies for marketing, including both traditional and innovative marketing plans of pigs and pig products.
  • Develop different strategies, including both traditional and innovative approaches, to manage the general operations associated with pig farming.



Here are just some of the things you will be doing:

  • List the commercial breeds of pigs being successfully farmed in your locality.
  • Compare the different characteristics of common breeds of pigs including:
    • appearance
    • hardiness
    • commercial potential
  • Select appropriate pig breeds for different specified situations.
  • Explain heritability factors relevant to pig breeding.
  • Explain how pig performance testing is carried out.
  • List factors which affect the selection of pigs for breeding.
  • Compare applications for straight breeding with cross breeding of pigs.
  • Describe how the process of artificial insemination of a pig is carried out by an experienced technician.
  • Explain different husbandry operations carried out during different stages of pig breeding, including:
    • Weaning to service
    • Early pregnancy
    • Mid pregnancy
    • Late pregnancy
    • Lactation
  • List the minimum facilities, including equipment and buildings necessary for growing healthy pigs.
  • Recommend items of machinery which can be used to automate a piggery operation, including details of:
    • the supplier
    • cost
    • technical specifications
  • Explain the housing requirements of pigs in a commercial production enterprise, in your locality.
  • Compare housing requirements for boars with those for sows, in a piggery visited by the learner.
  • Develop maintenance guidelines for pig shelters, including large and small sheds.
  • Prepare a sketch design of an area for farming pigs, showing the location of major facilities.
  • Assess the disposal system(s) being used for effluent at a specified piggery.
  • Explain the concept of reed bed treatment of effluent, for a piggery.
  • List pests and diseases that commonly affect pigs.
  • Develop a checklist of general signs which indicate ill health in pigs.
  • Describe three significant pests or diseases of pigs, including their symptoms and effect.
  • Explain a treatment for each of three different common pests or diseases in pigs.
  • Determine the health status of a unit of pigs at a piggery, using a checklist.
  • Report on the significance of health services for pigs, including veterinary and quarantine services, as used on a piggery visited by the learner
  • Explain a vaccination program, including what it is, how it is performed and it's expected benefits, that is used at a specific piggery.
  • Explain the function of the different parts of a pigs digestive system, including the:
    • oesophagus
    • stomach
    • duodenum
    • intestines
    • colon
    • anus
  • List various food sources for different food nutrients for pigs, including:
    • Carbohydrates
    • Proteins
    • Minerals
    • Vitamins
  • Investigate and analyse the ingredients in a pig diet, being used at a commercial piggery
  • Describe food ration requirements for a specific pig, with reference to:
    • Carbohydrates
    • Proteins
    • Minerals
    • Vitamins
  • Prepare a sample of pig feed suitable for either a boar, a weaner, or a porker.
  • Explain the differences in feeding pigs under different circumstances, including:
    • young pigs
    • growing pigs
    • gestating sows
    • lactating sows
    • replacement gilts
    • breeding boars
  • Explain the techniques used to physically handle pigs in different situations, including:
    • at a piggery
    • during transportation
    • during slaughter for meat
    • when showing
  • Prepare a timetable of husbandry tasks, from weaning to marketing, for fattening a pig.
  • Compare different, but commercially viable, systems of raising pigs, with reference to:
    • costs
    • materials
    • equipment
    • labour
    • production output
  • Prepare an annual program of routine pig husbandry tasks, for a specified enterprise.
  • List pig products commonly sold through retail outlets in the learner's locality.
  • Analyse wholesale and retail marketing systems for pig products.
  • Explain the factors affecting sales of pig products, over a twelve month period, in a specific locality.
  • Explain the factors affecting the cost of pig products, over twelve months, in a specific locality.
  • Analyse the marketing of a specified pig product from the farm through to the consumer, including associated work tasks, and costs involved.
  • Write an innovative plan for the marketing of pigs or a specified pig product.
  • List factors which affect the profitability of a pig farm in a specified locality.
  • Evaluate the production performance of a specified piggery.
  • Explain the organisational structure of a specified piggery.
  • Write a job specification for one member of staff of a piggery.
  • Assess the impact of staff interactions on productivity in a specified piggery.
  • Recommend ways to increase unit performance of a piggery reviewed in a case study.
  • Write a management procedure, including contingency arrangements, for control of production targets and budgeted costs on a pig farm.
  • Explain the legal requirements and regulations appropriate to operating a commercial piggery in your locality.
  • Analyse the procedures involved in purchasing a specific piggery which is advertised for sale.
  • Determine innovations in the pig industry, which may improve management of a specified pig enterprise.
  • Evaluate different innovations being used in the pig industry.
  • Develop a production plan for pigs on a specified property, which includes:
    • a production timetable
    • details of animals required
    • lists of facilities required
    • materials requirements
    • a schedule of husbandry tasks
    • cost estimates
  • Design a form for record keeping of appropriate piggery data.

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