The unique biological and economic characteristics of pigs make them the most popular animals for industrial and domestic breeding. They are unpretentious, easily adapt to different conditions, eat any food, quickly gain weight and bring good offspring. Pork is always in demand in the market, it has good taste and high nutritional value. Because of this, breeding piglets remains cost-effective for many years.
Pluses fattening and the percentage of slaughter yield
Compared with other agricultural animals, pigs have a very large slaughter yield - from 75 to 85%. Not only meat, fat and liver are used. The skin is used to make leather goods, bristles are made on brushes and brushes, bone flour is made from bones, and guts are used to make sausage. That is, you can make a profit from almost any part of the pork carcass. For comparison: when breeding cattle slaughter yield only 55-65%.
A big plus when the content is omnivorous pigs. They eat and vegetable products, and animals, well gaining weight on almost any food. Piglets can be given any vegetable waste, residues of meat and fish products.
At the same time, compared to cattle, these animals eat less: to gain 1 kg of weight, a pig needs 5 kg of feed, and a cow needs twice as much food for the same weight gain. In general, the pigs "in the meat" is 33% of the feed, which they eat. The boar’s weight is 300–350 kg, and the female’s weight is 200–250 kg.
In addition, young animals are growing rapidly and are gaining a slaughter mass, which means that not much time passes between buying or giving birth to an animal and making profit from it - about a year.
The taste and nutritional value of pork meat
Pork has a good taste and is highly regarded, regardless of the breed of animals. It has little water, but a lot of calories compared to beef or lamb. In one kg of pork contains from 3 to 4 thousand kcal, and in a kilogram of fat - 8 thousand kcal. In lamb and beef, this figure is not more than 1.5 thousand kcal per kilogram.
Pork contains many useful micro and macro elements, vitamins, as well as proteins and fats. Carbohydrate pork does not contain. This is a good product for nutrition of both adults and children. The main indicators of nutritional value per 100 g of pork are presented in the table:
Although the pig is omnivorous and grows well on any feed, it must be borne in mind that the taste characteristics of meat and the content of nutrients in it are still dependent on the diet.
Precocity and puberty
Noting the biological characteristics of pigs, it is impossible not to say about such an advantage as rapid puberty. Six months after birth, young animals are considered sexually mature. Females can be covered already at the age of 8-9 months and until they reach the age of one year old they will receive the first piglets.
An important factor is the weight ripeness of pigs, that is, the period for which they gain 100 kg. With such a weight, they are considered ready for economic use, be it reproduction or slaughter. If the pigs eat well and live in normal conditions, they add an average of 700-800 g per day. At this pace, they need only 6-7 months to reach a weight of 100 kg.
Newborn pigs weighing 1-1.2 kg in a week become twice as well-fed. At the same time, the calf doubles its weight in as much as 8 weeks. By the age of 7 months, a pig increases its mass by a factor of a hundred, which it cannot boast with either large or small cattle. In this regard, the advantages of meat breeding pigs are obvious.
Pregnancy and fetal development
A pig not only quickly ripens for fertilization, but also bears posterity for a relatively short time. Pregnancy lasts 114-115 days.
Piglets develop rapidly after birth, and being still in the womb. Here, too, the rate of weight gain is much greater than that of cows or sheep. In the second half of gestation of the uterus, the offspring already acquires all the pedigree qualities and makings, and is born sufficiently developed.
Due to this, even the smallest piglets can be assessed, determine the direction of their development and prospects. For industrial-scale pig production, this is a very valuable quality, since buying young stock is not so risky. If in other animals, in the process of growth, the young may present surprises, start to develop not according to plan, or suddenly detect serious defects, then in pigs such a risk is small.
With the help of selection, endurance and physiological parameters of piglets can be improved. Females, with good care, produce offspring twice a year.
The number of piglets in the litter, the productivity of females
Of all the features of pigs, the economic and biological advantages provide more than others the multiplicity. At one time, the female brings from 10 to 12 piglets, and sometimes more. So, the case when the sow gave birth to 36 babies is registered. Of course, this is an exception, but even 10 heads of young stock is much more than in cattle and small ruminants. So, a cow gives birth to one, less often two calves. Sheep - two lambs, occasionally three.
The number of piglets in the offspring is affected by the mass of the female during the first insemination, age. As a rule, the multiplicity is especially high in the first 5 farrows, and then the pig begins to produce fewer young.
However, some sows give numerous offspring at 7 and even 8 farrowing. Hunting occurs every 18-20 days. A pig can bear and bear offspring at any time of the year.
More is not needed, because females are used on farms for no more than 5 years. In the commercial pig production this period is 2.5 years at all. The longest sows are used where there is breeding work. In addition, read the article "How many pigs usually live."
Large-fruited and lactation in pigs
The mass of newborn piglets determines such a parameter as large-fruited. Normally, their weight should be from 1 to 1.3 kg. This suggests the correct, full-fledged development of the animal in the embryonic period. In addition, it is precisely on this value that the further weight gain of the pigs will depend.
For breeding sows are selected, including, by large-fruited, given that the piglets in the litter should not differ greatly from each other in weight.
Milk in sows is not at all the same as in cows or goats. It is fatter, contains a lot of protein, and the dry matter weight is 1.5 times higher. These are the biological features of pigs - pigs need a particularly nutritious and high-calorie food after birth.
Dairy tanks - that is, places for the accumulation of milk - in sows do not. Many small ducts go from the milk alveoli, connecting in 2 or 3 wide ducts leading to the nipple.
It is impossible to milk a pig, therefore, the quantity and quality of the product released is estimated using other methods. For example, they give a uterus a hormonal injection and suck up the milk with a machine, or weigh piglets before and after feeding.
The female feeds the offspring first up to 25 times a day. Gradually the number of feedings is reduced by half. Lactation lasts from 1 to 2 months.
Differences in digestion, the effect of domestication on meat quality
The digestive tract of pigs and the process of digesting food have nuances. Already in the mouth, the feed begins to be processed - starch is converted into grape sugar. Starch from boiled potatoes, beets, and corn is best split. The pig saliva contains maltase and ptyalin - enzymes that horses and cattle do not have.
The stomach in pigs is single-chamber, it is actively processed proteins and carbohydrates. The splitting of the latter lasts up to 2 hours, but they are completely digested and absorbed in the small intestine.
In small pigs, the characteristics of growth and development are such that in their stomach at first there is no hydrochloric acid. Consequently, they cannot fully digest food, with the exception of breast milk.
The domestication affected the body structure of the pigs. If you look at the wild representatives of the species, they have a bigger and stronger front - shoulders, head, neck. Pets were taken out in such a way that the bulk fell to the back, where the meat is tastier and more valuable.
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