By Dr. Rene C. Santiago

Native pigs are characterized by their distinct black color, although it is not uncommon to see breeds with white, red, or black spots. Both the sow and boar have an average weight of 40 to 60 kilograms (kg).

Typically, native pigs are raised in far-flung areas where housing structures or pens are not provided. They multiply fast because they breed and give birth easily. An average litter of 5 to 8 piglets are produced per farrowing. The sows care for their young and have natural antibodies against common diseases and parasites.

Native pigs are characterized by their distinct black color.

An advantage of native pig farming is the low capital requirement. They are easy to raise and are highly adaptable to local conditions. In addition, native pigs can survive by making use of local feed sources and simple management practices. Their characteristic taste appeals to consumers, which adds to their marketability.

Typically, native pigs are raised in far-flung areas where housing structures or pens are not provided. They multiply fast because they breed and give birth easily. An average litter of 5 to 8 piglets are produced per farrowing. The sows care for their young and have natural antibodies against common diseases and parasites.

An advantage of native pig farming is the low capital requirement. They are easy to raise and are highly adaptable to local conditions. In addition, native pigs can survive by making use of local feed sources and simple management practices. Their characteristic taste appeals to consumers, which adds to their marketability.

Housing and Free Range

Presently, native pigs can be seen tied under shady trees or roaming freely around backyards. This practice often causes problems like illness that can sometimes lead to death, which is why experts advise that they be provided with housing structures.

The recommended measurement for the pen is 2 x 2 meters (m) per sow or boar. The pen should have a roof which can be made of local materials such as nipa, cogon, or anahaw (foodstool palm). The walls can be made of bamboo and coconut husk.

It is also recommended that a fenced grazing area, made of coconut husk, wooden planks, or bamboo slats, be provided.

Upper beddings of the pig pen should include a mix of 1 bag coconut coir dust/saw dust/rice hull, 1 bag of soil, and 1/2 kg salt; the lower bedding should include a mixture of dry coconut husk/rice straw/dry leaves, with 1 meter height between beddings. Enclosure is made of bamboo. More info: can use saw dust, rice hull/straw, etc.; water the top soil if needed (ideal 60% moisture); average: 1-2 years – it depends on number of animals; not ideal for lowland or flood-prone areas.

The Potential Of Native Pigs

Filipino festivities will not be complete without a roast pig (lechong baboy). Local roasters agree that the native pig is better for its taste and quality (perhaps in reference to the crunchiness)
of the skin when roasted.

Native pigs can be used for natural or organic meat production.

The native pig has the ability to reproduce easily through the proper selection of boars and gilts/sows for breeding.

Furthermore, the native pig can be used for natural or organic meat production.

Grower
– The ideal weight of a grower for roasting (lechon) is 10-30 kg
live weight, while the ideal weight for butchering is 30-40 kg (or
more) live weight.
– Feed the grower with a mix of rice bran, copra, and cooked or dried cassava and taro root. Provide protein supplements from grass, legumes, leaves, kitchen leftovers, and others.

Health and Common Diseases

The following are some tips on how to protect native pigs from common diseases:
– Provide shelter or housing for native pigs during the rainy season and the summer to prevent them from falling ill.
– Provide adequate food and water for proper growth and development.
– Administer hog cholera vaccine during the first 2 months and every 6th month for the sow and boar.
– For respiratory problems, natural remedies may be given such as boiled sambong leaves, lagundi, and other herbal medicines.
– For diarrhea, which is commonly experienced by young pigs, piglets can be fed with sappy leaves such as Chrysophyllum cainito (kaymito), guava, or banana tree.

Breeding and Reproduction

Healthy sows produce healthy offspring.

The breeding of native pigs is done naturally; boars and sows are confined together in a 15 x 20m pigpen. A 1:10-15 boar to sow ratio is recommended. The pigs may initially be confined separately then brought together at the time of breeding.

To improve the breed or quality of the native pig, a selection process among the sows and the boar should be conducted. The following are characteristics of the preferred boar and gilt/sow for breeding:
1. Healthy and free from defects
2. Round, thick-bodied, and with appropriate body length
3. Strong legs
4. A sow should have 5-6 pairs of teats, produce 8 or more piglets per farrowing, and exhibit maternal behavior (caring for the young)
5. Boar should have testicles of equal size, be the largest in its litter, exhibit a fast growth rate, and have other appealing characteristics such as a black body color.

Feeding

One of the best characteristics of native pigs is its ability to use local feed sources such as rice bran (darak), cassava (kamoteng kahoy), and taro root (gabi) to survive. Below are the recommended feeds and ration.

Sow and Boar
– 1-1.5 kg mixed feeds (rice bran, corn, copra) per head per day
– Give supplements like grass, leaves, kitchen leftovers, cooked taro, cassava, or elephant yam (pungapong)
Note: Additional feeds should be given for lactating sows.

Piglet (10-45 days old)
– Easily digestible feeds (commercial hog starter mash)
– Additional fruits, vegetables, rice bran, ground corn, or coconut

Grower (2-5 months old)
– 0.3-1 kg mixed feeds per head per day
– Supplements like grass, leaves, kitchen leftovers, cooked taro, cassava, or elephant yam (pungapong)

Trichanthera or Madre de Agua
– High protein and high calcium
– Palatable
– Can be given fresh or dried

Guidelines in Caring for Native Pigs

1. Caring for the sow during parity: If the sow is showing signals of impending parturition (10 days before due date of parturition or giving birth) such as swelling of the mammary glands and reddening of the vulva, the sow can be brought to a pen. Here are the recommended steps to be followed:

– Do not feed the sow on the day of parturition.
– Ensure that the cage floor is dry and clean.
– Place a protective underlayer (leaves, haystack, etc.) on the floor and never disturb the sow at the time of giving birth.
– Avoid causing discomfort to the piglets by separating them from the mother or removing their teeth on the day of parturition.

2. Caring for the sow after parity
– Allow piglets to roam around on the
ground for them to get additional iron
(Fe).
– Perform castration on male piglets between 10-14 days old.
– Ensure that the pen and its floor are dry at all times to avoid infection. Provide separate feeds for piglets.
– Wean the piglets from the mother at 45 days old.
– Administer vaccine for hog cholera or pests when the piglets reach 2 months of age.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s July 2016 issue.