AT RDF PIGGERY: They Raise Sexy Pigs To Produce Better Piglets

Did you know that sexy breeder pigs will produce better litters and that they will also have a longer productive life? That’s what we learned when we visited the piggery division of the giant highly integrated company based in Pampanga – the RDF Feed, Livestock and Foods, Inc. established by Dr. Robert Lo, a veterinarian-turned entrepreneur.

(This is just one more of the practical ideas from the RDF Piggery that we posted on March 13 in which we wrote about a number of other bright ideas from the big swine farm.)

Dr. Ariel Peregrino with weanlings born of Sexy Pigs.

Dr. Ariel Peregrino, operations manager of the piggery division, said that a sexy breeder pig is one that is neither too thin nor too fat. It means that an 8-month-old gilt that is ready for breeding should weigh 130 kilos. That’s the ideal weight of a sexy pig. In a scale of 1 to 5, the sexy animal has a body score condition (BSC) of 3.

What happens if the pig weighs less than 130 kilos? Well, according to Dr. Peregrino, the body of the prospective mother pig will not have enough reserves come farrowing time. The animal will become thin fast after giving birth and that is bad. The breeder would be culled early. The condition could also adversely affect the so-called potential LSBA or litter size born alive.

And what happens if the gilt is too fat? More than 130 kilos at 8 months old? Well, they will eat more feed during gestation and that means more expensive to maintain. Usually, the fat breeders produce less milk for its litter.
On the average breeding sows give birth 4.5 times before they are culled. But the objective at the RDF Piggery is to increase the longevity of the animals. Best performers can give birth eight times, says Dr. Peregrino. And how do you achieve longevity?

Dr. Robert Lo is the veterinarian-entrepreneur who founded RDG Feed, Livestock and Foods, Inc.
Tunnel vent-type housing makes the breeders comfortable. Note the many exhaust fans.

Aside from good nutrition, the gilts should have a good start that considers the weight, age and BCS. Good management during gestation and farrowing include prevention of lameness through hoof and leg management. Constant monitoring is also done as often as possible, including BCS thru calipers, backfat through Renco lean meter and feed adjustment according to body condition. Feed adjustment could easily be done because the feed supply to the animal is controlled by computer.

Providing good housing (tunnel vent design) is also very important. The housing is provided with exhaust fans to control humidity inside the hog houses. Lastly, biosecurity is very important. All those who enter the farm observe very strict protocol to prevent entry of disease organisms.

These are the vegetarian pigs that are readied for delivery to the slaughterhouse.

VEGETARIAN PIGS – One other unique strategy at the RDF Piggery is that the fatteners are fed with vegetarian feed. This means that the feeds given to the animals only contain proteins that are sourced from plants like soya and corn. There’s no fish meal and other ingredients from animals like blood meal or meat meal. Why? Fresh Options, the meatshops of the company, is very particular about the flavor of the meats they sell. Using fish meal and the like in the feed could impart some kind of fishy flavor (malangsa).

The company has its own feedmill that supplies only the requirements of the piggery and the poultry farm. It does not sell its feeds to outside customers. That’s why it can maintain the desired quality suited to each stage of growth of the animals.

And by the way, did you know that a breeder pig will consume one ton of feeds a year? For the 2,000 breeders alone, that would already be 2,000 tons a year. And how about the fatteners? They really require big quantities.

The RDF Feed, Livestock and Foods, Inc. has really gone a long way from its modest beginnings in 1988. It has more than a hundred meatshops in Central Luzon and Metro Manila. Customers can buy from them fresh cuts, marinated, ready-to-cook, ready-to-heat, and other value-added meats.

The company also boasts of its own restaurants like Meats and Match, a hole-in-the wall type of food kiosk; Roberto’s Coffee and Tea; Robbie’s Deli in a Hurry, Hot Kitchen and Chicken All Ways.

The company has also generated a lot of jobs for Filipinos. It now directly employs no less than 1,300 men and women.

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