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Pig breeds and their Features (Large White, Duroc, Yorkshire,Berkshire, Hampshire)


 Pigs are one of the most domesticated animal in human history and there is a relative increase as the day goes by, human population is on the increase and thus bringing about a great demand for animal protein, Pigs are of different types and Breeds, their productivity, growth and over well performances are often times a result of the kind of breed they are, today, we will be looking at some of the Pig Breeds we have across the world.
Large White (Yorkshire)

This breed is originated from Britain. Yorkshires  are the  most  recorded  breed  in  the  United  States  and  Canada.  They  are  white  with  erect  hears  and  of appreciable body length. The pig thrives well underconfinement conditions. It is best known for its large litter size and mothering ability. It is a docile tractable breed. Being one of the largest breeds, the gain are somewhat slower compared with other breeds. Thecarcasses are of excellent qualities.
Chester White
The  Chester  White  breed  is  known  for  its  mothering ability, durability,  and  structural  soundness.  For  many  years,  Chester  Whites  have  been  popular  with  pork producers because of their extreme longevity. Packers prefer Chester Whites because of their white colored skin is easily removed during the harvesting process.
The  Berkshire  breed  has  long  been  known  for  its efficiency  in  gaining  weight.  The  meat  quality  of  the  Berkshire  is  unique  because  it  has  a  greater proportion  of  lean  meat  intermixed  with  streaks  of  fat.  This  intramuscular  fat  gives  more  marbling  in comparison to other breeds. Like all the swine breeds that end in ‘shire’, Berkshires have erect ears. In fact, the word ’shire’ means erect. The Berkshire breed standard requires a pig to have a color pattern consisting of only black and white hairs. The white points must appear on the nose, feet, and tail.
These white points can be missing and any additional white points may appear on the body of the
The Hereford breed originated in the 1900.s when aswine breeder crossed a Duroc, Chester White, and Poland.The Hereford breed was developed for its type, color, conformation, and superior feeding
qualities. The Hereford breed standard requires a white face, and no less than two thirds of the pig’s body to bered, exclusive of the face, ears, and at least two white feet. The white hair above the white feet must be extended at least one inch above the hoof. Hereford  hogs  are  known  for  having  a  long  neck,  moderate  jowl,  medium  sized  floppy  ears,  and  a medium length face.
The Pietrain breed originated from Belgium in the  1950.s and was  later  exported  to  other  countries.  Pietrains  are  moderate  in  size,  have  black  spots  with  white pigmented hair around the black spots, and have moderately erect ears. Pietrains have shorter legs than most breeds, are low fronted, stockier in build, and a
re extremely heavy muscled. This breed’s popularity  has  been  up  and  down depending  on  market trends.  Pietrains  are  known  for  having extremely high lean to fat ratios, with percent lean calculations in the high sixty percent range. Pietrains possess doubled muscled or bulging ham shape. They  have poorer mothering ability and lower milk production than other breeds.
Spots  are  known  for  being  fast  growers,  with  good  feed efficiency, and high quality carcasses. Spots are popular among commercial hog farmers for producing fast growing crossbred offspring.
They are white and possess large floppy ears and longest body compared with any other breed. They have largelitter size and very good mothering ability. The flesh is excellent for making bacon.
 They  are  sound  and  vigorous,  very  fast  growing  andprofitable in production under varying production practices. The pigs are red and have short dropping ears and arched back. They are considered to be very good meat hogs.
They are medium size, black pig with a distinct white belt around the shoulders including the forelegs. They have high prolificacy and high survival rate of the piglets.
Indigenous Breed
They are small in size with a long snout. The pig has back swept ears and a straight tails. The most common  colours are  brown  with  black patches, brown, black, and  black  with gray  or  white patches.They are characterized by stunted growth, poor reproductive performance of average of about three piglets. They are very hardy and have sharp feet.
Large Black
The large black breed is a British breed. The pig has long well proportional with a good reputation for ham and bacon production. It is a long, black pigs with lop ears and  is  considered  a  good  grazer  and mothers.  Growth rate  tends  to  be  slow  and  carcasses&nbsp
; are relatively fat.
 Tamworth  hogs  originated  in  England  and  are known for being a bacon type hog. Tamworths are thrifty, rugged, and deep sided hogs with a long neck, long legs, and a long nose. Tamworth females
make good mothers in spite of the fact that they lack  body  depth.  Tamworth  hogs  typically  walk  and  stand  with  an  arch  in  their  back  and  they  have medium sized erect ears. This breed should be golden red to dark red in colour, with straight hair.

Selecting Your Breeding Stock

The selection of the correct health status appropriate to your herd and location is vital before a breeding stock  is  purchased.  The  primary  reason  for  purchase is  to  genetically  upgrade  your  herd.  Major requirements will be that they are available when you want them, in the numbers that are needed and at a price you can afford. But an overriding requirement is that they will not cause disease in your herd and lower your overall health status. At the onset  therefore, consult with your veterinarian and ask him to determine at a veterinary level the information available about the proposed herd. The  investigations should  include  the  disease  history  since  its  inception  and  those  of  any  daughter herds that have been established from it. Also the  health status and disease history of other herds it supplies. All veterinary reports should be requested and examined together with the results of tests for specific diseases and the frequency of such tests. The breeding history on the farm should be checked together with any evidence of infectious reproductive disease. A detailed study of records of production parameters, growth and food conversion rates may behelpful. The biosecurity of the breeding pyramid should be checked along with details of the health  programme. The bio-security of the herd itself mustbe assessed including the methods by which pigs or genetic materials are brought into the herd. Finally a  written  veterinary  statement  should  be  obtained  indicating  that  on  both  clinical  and  pathological grounds those selected diseases that you wish to keep out of your herd have not been diagnosed in the donor herd.

Buying breeding herd – The ground rules

Step 1- Select the source based on:
•  Availability.
•  Genetics (including fecundity).
•  Health.
•  Market acceptability.
•  Quality control.
Step  2-  Determine  with  your  veterinary  advisor  the  health  status  of  your  own  herd.
Step  3-  Request  veterinary  liaison  with  the  suppliers’  veterinarian and  get  clarification  of  the  health
status of the donor herd.
Step 4- Assess the compatibility of health status.
Step 5 – Determine the isolation requirements for incomingstock.
Step 6 – Decide on vaccination and acclimatisation procedures.
The donor herd
The  suppliers  may  want  to  know  the  health  status  you  require  and  offer  you  a  choice  of  sources.
Always purchase from a DHHS herd or equivalent if available.
What are the methods and risks of pig movement since incoming  pigs  are  probably  the  greatest potential source of infection to your herd, the methods by which they are introduced or other methods
by which you improve the genetic potential of your herd are vitally important.
Five methods suffice:
1.  By introducing live pigs.
2.  By segregated early weaning SEW.
3.  By hysterectomy.
4.  By embryo transplants.
5.  By artificial insemination (AI)
Live pigs
a) Mature gilts and boars
Live pigs can be brought into your herd from a source herd of matching health status, or through SEW or hysterectomy and fostering if the source herd isof known but lower health status (depending on the disease to be eliminated). If live pigs are brought into your herd with or without SEW it is advisable to hold them in isolation  for a period  before  integrating  them  into  your  herd  to  check  whether  they develop  disease  and  whether disease breaks out in the source herd. If the isolation premises are in a different site to your herd  and not of the same biosecurity
standards as your recipient herd, there could be a greater risk in holdingthem there rather than integrating them directly into your herd. The dangers of integrating them directly into your herd are obvious, namely, that if they are incubating an infectious disease sub-clinically then ultimately your herd will become infected. Perfect  separate quarantine facilities are rarely availableto commercial herds, particularly smaller enterprises  but isolation that falls short of complete quarantine (e.g.  on  the  same  site)  can  be  surprisingly  effective.  The  incoming  stock  could  be  moved  into  a separate building  on  the  same  site  preferably over  50  metres distant and this  should  be  reasonably effective,  provided  separate  boots  and  coveralls  are  used  to  tend  the  animals  and  provided  the drainage  from  the  building  does  not  flow  into  your  other  pig  buildings.If  a  separate  building  is  not possible then a separate room sealed off from the main body of the herd is better than direct integration into the herd. How  long  should  the  incubation  period  be?  Here  the importance  of  veterinarian  liaison  to  match respective health status has already been highlighted. If your herd is believed to be enzootic pneumonia (EP) free then it is advisable to place the incominganimals in isolation for a period of eight weeks. At the same time sentinel pigs (i.e. pigs from your  herd due for slaughter) should be moved in and blood tested and / or slaughtered prior to the entry of thenew pigs and their lungs examined for EP freedom. If your herd is not free of EP, the length of isolation is debatable. Some veterinarians would advise six weeks but four is more practicable. Should enteric or respiratory disease appear during the four week period either in the pigs in isolation or  in  the  source  herd  the  chances  of  preventing  further  damage  by  immediate  slaughter  would  be reasonable.
b) Breeder weaners
Instead of buying in mature replacement gilts and boars you could buy in so-called breeder- weaners, say, 30kg live weight. This has the advantage of allowing them a long period of acclimatisation to your herd before you breed them. It also enables you to  rear them yourself in the way you think best for future breeding gilts and allows you to carry out your own selection at slaughter weight. A disadvantage is that boars cannot be performance tested and therefore it is not feasible. Also, if you sell your pigs at 25-30kg or at weaning, you probably do not have the facilities to rear such pigs. The advantages of buying in breeding stock at a commercial level, compared to the selection of the home produced gilt are its low cost, the availability of gilts when they are required, the genetic potential is  constantly  improved  and  if done  carefully  presents  few  problems.  Some  farms  however  prefer  to breed their own breeding females and thereby only introduce into the herd, a small proportion of grandparent females and boars.This policy often fails because of the difficulty of rearing the future female replacements within a commercial operation, the poorer reproductive performance and the fact that the gilts reared on the farm are often not available when required. This system is also a high cost one and often results in lower numbers of pigs reared. Extensive experiences have shown that provided there isgood health liaison and sensible practical procedures then the herd health status can be maintained with the purchase of breeding stock.
Segregated  early  weaning  (SEW)  –  Modified  Medicated Early  Weaning  (MMEW)
The second method of bringing in live pigs from another herd is through a modification of the medicated early weaning (MEW) technique called by many segregated early weaning (SEW) and by one breeding company  Isowean.  This  is  based  on  the  principle  outlined  earlier  under  “How  infectious  agents  are spread”. By the time females reach their first farrowing they have developed a strong immunity to the more serious enzootic pathogens in the herd and have eliminated most of them. Furthermore they pass such a strong maternal immunity to their offspring  that the piglets are resistant to infection by most of these pathogens for varying periods depending on the pathogen. Thus if they are weaned immediately from the sow and moved to isolated premises at the  appropriate age they will be free of the pathogensyou wish to eliminate. Thus if you wished to obtain future breeding stock  from a particular herd but your veterinarian thought that the general health of that herd was below thatof your own you could obtain higher health status pigs  free  from  the  unwanted  pathogen.  If  the  pathogen  you  wished  to  avoid  was Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae,(enzootic pneumonia), you could vaccinate the damsin the donor herd ahead of time to boost their immunity, put the sows and newborn piglets on an anti-mycoplasma medicine such as tylosin  or  tiamulin  and  wean  the  pigs  at  ten  days  to  the  isolation  facility on  your  farm.  Isolation  isnecessary because if an unknown pathogen enters thedonor herd it could go through the SEW system during the incubation period.
Hysterectomy and fostering
The fourth method of introduction of live pigs is through hysterectomy and fostering the piglets onto  a newly farrowed sow in the recipient herd. This operation is carried out on day 113 of pregnancy when the sow is slaughtered. The womb containing the piglets is either removed 50 meters away to a pigpathogen-free environment where the piglets are removed or it is passed through disinfectant trap into a sealed room. The litter is then immediately takeninto the recipient herd and suckled onto a newly farrowed  sow.  If  done  properly  the  mortality  rate  is  as  low  similar  to  that  of  your  naturally  farrowedpiglets.
The whole operation is synchronised using prostaglandins so that newly farrowed sows are available to act  as  foster  mothers.  Ideally  the  sow  selected  for the  operation  should  be  moved  into  isolationapproximately eight weeks prior to the due date andmonitored for evidence of disease. At the same time  it  should  be  blood  sampled  and  tested  for  aujeszky’s  disease  (AD)  (pseudorabies),&nbsp
; swineinfluenza,  PRRS  and other  relevant  diseases that  could  pass  through  the  placental  barrier  including leptospirosis and brucellosis. The reason for bloodtesting for these diseases is that they are capable of passing from a recently infected mother to her piglets in the womb. This is most unlikely to happen with aujeszky’s  virus  and  PRRS  if  they  are  obviously  immune,  but  it  could  happen  with Leptospira bratislavaand possibly L.  pomona. If  a  sow  is  serologically  positive  for  leptospira  the  risk  can  be diminished by treating her with either streptomycinor amoxycillin antibiotics prior to hysterectomy.  If a sow  is  sero-positive  for  brucellosis  it  is  better  to  discard  her.  It  would  appear  also  that  porcine coronavirus does not cross the placenta and hysterectomy pigs from positive herds can be introduced into negative herds safely. Hysterectomy is a safe procedure and in many hundreds of operations known to the authors there has been no evidence of transfer of disease.
Embryo transfer
Embryo transfer has been used successfully in several countries for the introduction of new genes but it has not been widely adopted probably because it requires two skilled teams, one to flush the fertilised eggs from the donor sow and one to insert them in the recipient sow. It has not been performed on anything like as big a scale as hysterectomy and fostering and therefore there is not the volume of field evidence to underline its safety, but in theory andon the limited evidence it is safe.
Its drawbacks are:
(1) It needs two skilled teams,
(2) It requires immaculate synchronisation and timing,
(3) The embryos cannot be kept viable for more thana few hours and
(4) Unless done expertly, it results in a high failure rate and small litters.
Note: For practical purposes, SEW, hysterectomy and AI are much simpler.
Artificial insemination
The sixth method of introducing genes is by artificial insemination (AI). It is known that viruses of  swine fever,  aujeszky’s  disease,  PRRS,  parvovirus,  and  leptospira  bacteria  and Brucella  suiscould  be introduced  through  AI  mainly  during  the  early  stages  of  infection  of  the  boar. 

 If  the  boars  first  go thorough a true quarantine procedure and are screened for these infections then housed in an isolated AI  stud  (i.e.  one  in  a  secure  location),  with  high  standards  of  biosecurity  and  hygiene  during  the production of semen, then field experience indicates that the risks are very small. 

The advent of frozen semen,  which  hitherto  has  been  largely  unsatisfactory  but  which  is  now  looking  more  promising, renders the use of AI much safer since the semen can be stored for a month or two, time enough to be sure that no new infection was incubating in the AIstud. AI does however, have the disadvantage that only half the genes are introduced into the herd.


One of the most important aspects of pig productionis getting young piglets off to a good start. For  this reason it is essential that the management and stockmanship of a farm is maintained at the highest possible standards.

 The pictures below illustrate some of the critical operations required to achieve this. 

The young piglets shortly after birth need to be kept at a temperature close to 30 degrees centigrade and are kept warm under an infra red lamp. 

Bedding  also helps to keep them warm and create their own microenvironment. Notice how the piglets huddletogether, this is a natural form of behaviour.
Feeding time
The crate that the mother pig (sow) lives in for the first few weeks of the piglets’ life prevents the sow rollingover and crushing the young piglets to death. For the first two or three days piglets are vulnerable as they weigh just over a kilo compared with the sow after the first two days of life, piglets have their own teatlet that they suckle from. A good sow will have 14  functional  teats.  Milk  yield  tends  to  be  higher  at  the  front  of  the  udder  compared  with  the back. Piglets are normally weaned at around 4 weeks of age which is an optimum time for both the welfare of the sow and the piglets.  After  weaning  the  sow  dries  off.  Sows  normally  come  on heat (exhibit oestrous) within a week. They are then mated either naturally with a boar or with artificial insemination (AI) or with a combination of both. At  feeding  time  sows  can  either  collect  feed  automatically from  a  feeder  or  they  can  be  fed  on  an individual basis as in the picture. The individual  feeder allows the sow to eat without interference and stress from her pen mates and provides the farmer with a good opportunity to check her health. The farmer may also check whether the sows are pregnant using the ultrasonic microphone as illustrated.

Five Easy Steps on How to Correctly and Properly Breed

Why  are  pig
s  one  of  the  most  ideal  animals  to  breed?  Why  do  farmers  include  pigs  in  their  list  of animals to breed for money and business? This is because breeding pigs doesn’t take up to much time and  pigs  are  capable  of  producing  large  litters.  They would only require a few boars or male pigs to matewith many sows or female pigs. If you’re interested in breeding pigs for business and would like to care for pigs correctly and properly breed pigs:
1.  Remember  that  you don’t  have  to buy  too  many boars  to  breed.  You  can  just ideally a year in age, and have him breed with about 30 to 50 sows that are either housed in stalls orina large pasture.
2. Always begin your breeding business with research. You need to know who to go to in order to buy the best boars for breeding plus the best and most fertile sows that can produce large litters that are not only healthy but that have the best qualities. You can either browse through the yellow pages for names of  pig  breeders  or  visit  and  get  referrals  from  well-known  stores  that  sell  pigs  and  pig  feeds.
3. When breeding pigs, select sows that are at least 9 to 10 months old as this is the ideal age for breeding. For the boars, you can either buy them when they’re at least 8 months old if you have a small number of sows then breed them with a larger numberas they grow older. Again, the older the boars are, the larger the number they can mate with.
4.  Sows  need  to  undergo  physical  check-ups  to  make  sure  that  they  have  no  infections  or  health problems that could produce problematic litters. You should also perform these check-ups to see if the sows are ready to mate. For instance, to check if the sow is ready, look at the vulva and see if it is swelling as this indicates the start of its fertility period. Young sows can be bred on their first day of fertility while older ones can begin on the next day after checking.
5. In breeding pigs, gestation lasts for about 113 days, so breed the  pigs during their fertility periods until pregnancy has been successfully achieved.

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