A pig’s natural lifespan is 10-15 years. Pigs used by the meat industry are usually killed after only 4-5 months.
Pigs are considred to be the most intelligent of all the farm animals. They are social animals and very courious as well. In many ways they are behaving similar to their wild ancestors. They like to live in small groups, to investigate their environment and to look for food by digging into the soil with their snouts. Prior to giving birth, sows seclude themselves and build nests. Sows are very devoted to their offspring.
Why do we keep them as farm animals
We keep them to produce meat and meat products, skin and other products.
How do pigs live on farms
In intensive production systems which are the most common everywhere in the world and also in Serbia, pigs are kept primarily in indoor systems. Sows and boars for reproduction are kept in sparate pens and younger animals are kept in group housing. Most of the farms have pens with slatted floors without bedding which is uncomfortable for the animals and can cause injuries to pigs’ legs and feet. Overcrowding causes build-up of ammonia reducing air quality which can cause respiratory disorders.
Pigs are reproduced by artificial insemination. A number of female offspring is left for further reproduction and the rest along with male offspring is intended for fattening process (male piglets are being castrated first). Piglets are separated from their mother early on to achieve higher number of farrowing for every sow.
Use of farrowing crates is still legal in most European countries including Serbia. Sow is confined to a space so small she can not turn around itself. The purpose of this is to have as many animals as possible in each building and to allow greater control. As with other farm animals in intensive production systems, pig diet is made both of plant based feed and animal based concentrates.
The reasons for this type of nutrition are – faster fattening process, lower prices of food, lower costs of production and consequently more profitable production. However, this also raises the question of whether the meat produced in that way is healthy for human consumption?
DID YOU KNOW?
Pigs can’t sweat, so they cool themselves down by rolling in the mud.