Here are interesting and informative photos from the RDF Piggery which we posted earlier (2 times) in this blog. Photos supplied by Dr. Ariel Peregrino, piggery division operations manager. Here we go:
SEXY GILTS IN THE MAKING – Dr. Jezelyn Balajadia, RDF’s swine veterinarian, looking at gilts being groomed as Sexy Pigs. These incoming breeders are selected and feeding is closely watched and managed for them to maintain a good Body Condition Score (BCS). They should weigh 130 kilos when they are ready to be bred at 8-months old. Below that, the animals will be too thin and will not have enough body reserves come farrowing time. Their potential for Litter Size Born Alive could be compromised. They will become thin after farrowing and they could be culled earlier than desired. If the gilt is too fat, more than 130 kg., it will consume more feed during gestation which means more expensive to maintain. It will also produce less milk for its litter.
Dr. Jezelyn Balajadia and farm manager Mark Cortez are discussing the feeding regimen in the farrowing house. At this stage, the sows should be prevented from getting thin by feeding them more – up to 8 kilos per day. By doing this, the sows will be strong after giving birth and will be ready for the next insemination.
Gestating sow inside its crate. The sow should always be comfortable, stresses Dr. Ariel Peregrino, operations manager of the RDF Piggery.
Sows in the gestating stalls have individual records. Each record indicates the body condition on the first trimester, 2nd trimester and the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Individual feeders are based on these records.
Piglets suckling their sow. Unlike in most other pig farms, the needle teeth of the new-born piglets at RDF Piggery are not clipped. Clipping is not only laborious but also could result in infection causing stress to the piglets. To prevent hurting the teats of the mother pig, the sow is fed as many as 6 times a day. By doing this, the mother pig will be standing while eating so that the piglets can’t remain suckling for long periods, thus avoiding hurting the teats.
As early as 7 days from farrowing, the divider between two crates is removed so that the piglets from the two mother sows mingle with one another, becoming familiar and friendly with one another. This is one way of avoiding aggressiveness among the piglets and thus avoiding stress.
A sow with 12 healthy litters. Proper nutrition is a major key in achieving good litter size. Proper selection of breeders is of course very important. At the RDF Piggery, three Great Grand Parent stocks are bred every week. From the offspring, rigid selection is practiced to come up with superior breeders.
Piglets about ready for weaning. To produce 400 piglets for rearing in a growing and finishing house, 60 sows are inseminated at the same time by treating them with hormone so they come in heat at the same time. They are inseminated on a Thursday, give birth 16 weeks later on a Friday and then weaned on a Saturday 20 weeks later when the piglets are 28 days old. At the growing and finishing house, the animals will be ready for harvest 20 weeks later, weighing 100 o 110 kilos. The animals usually eat 2.2 kilos of feed to gain one kilo of meat.
View of the RDF Piggery breeding farm in San Jose, Tarlac where 1,000 breeders are housed.