Improved Pig Production and Performance in the Tropics
Pig or Swine as interchangeably used for this animal is well adapted for the production of meat because they grow and mature rapidly. They have a short gestation period easily described as three months, three weeks and three days (114 days) and they produce large numbers of young each time they farrow. They are omnivorous in feeding habit and can scavenge for food if allowed. Our country Nigeria, lying within the tropical belt is deficient in food production and protein malnutrition is rapidly increasing in most part of the country especially among the urban and rural populations. There is the need to intensify efforts to increase food production especially that of animal origin. Pig production also known as piggery readily provides solutions to animal protein deficiencies. Pig production can yield relatively rapid rate of economic return on capital due to the high fecundity and growth rate. Other pig by-products such as skin, bristle, lard, bone, blood and faeces offer great value and source of increased revenue to the piggery farmer. It is also easier and cheaper to maintain and manage a piggery farm than other livestock enterprises. The consumption of white rather than red meat is being advocated worldwide today and Pork is favoured for that. There are much other potential that place pig production above other forms of livestock production which will be shared in this article. The constraints to pig production in Nigeria are mainly based on social and religious beliefs. This paper describes those desirable practices that may enhance pig production in Nigeria. Such management practices like systems of production, housing, feeding, health, and product marketing were discussed to enable a prospective pig farmer have a wonderful return on investment.