Pigs in air-con­di­tioned quar­ters

(Mem­oirs of an Agri Journalist)

Agriculture - - Contents -

IT CAN BE SAID that some pigs are luck­ier than many hu­mans be­cause they live in air-con­di­tioned houses day in and day out, never ex­pe­ri­enc­ing heat stress in their lives.

We learned about such lucky pigs in the mid-1990s when we vis­ited the hog farm of Chito Ani­ban in Brgy. Ma­camot, Bi­nang­o­nan, Rizal. His farm spe­cial­ized in pro­duc­ing male and fe­male pigs for breed­ing. He found it a bright strat­egy to pro­duce breed­ers be­cause breed­ing an­i­mals com­mand a much higher price than those in­tended for fat­ten­ing.

Of course, hogs that are raised to pro­duce breed­ing an­i­mals have high ge­netic qual­i­ties like fast growth, pro­lifi­cacy, lean meat, good mothering abil­ity, ex­cel­lent body con­for­ma­tion, and the like. Th­ese are costly an­i­mals and so they have to be given spe­cial treat­ment, ac­cord­ing to Chito.

One way of giv­ing the spe­cial treat­ment to the prized an­i­mals, par­tic­u­larly the boars, was to raise them in air-con­di­tioned quar­ters. At the time of our visit to the farm, Chito had 16 elite boars that were used to sire 370 fe­male breed­ers. Breed­ing was done by ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion, a tech­nique that Chito him­self had be­come an ex­pert.

Why keep the boars in air-con­di­tioned quar­ters? Chito had very good rea­sons for do­ing so. He said that they were very ex­pen­sive an­i­mals (some cost­ing as much as R100,000 in those days) so they de­served spe­cial treat­ment. Un­der such con­di­tions, the boars pro­duced more sperm and they also re­mained pro­duc­tive for many more years

The boars were not un­der stress so they used up less en­ergy, which was why they also ate less. Chito ex­plained that a boar with­out any air-con­di­tion­ing will nor­mally eat 2 to 2.2 ki­los of feed daily. On the other hand, he fed his own elite boars only 1.6 ki­los ev­ery day.

At any rate, Chito said, he could af­ford to put his boars un­der air-con­di­tioned quar­ters (there were two air-con­di­tioned build­ings) be­cause it did not re­ally cost him much. The elec­tric­ity that ran air-con­di­tion­ing units came from his bio­gas sys­tem.

His bio­gas fa­cil­ity pro­vided 80 per­cent of all his elec­tric­ity re­quire­ments in his five-hectare farm. He said that his bio­gas plant saved him any­where be­tween R45,000 and R50,000 a month. Those were big amounts in those days. Now you see why some pigs re­ceive much bet­ter hous­ing than many of us or­di­nary souls.— ZAC B. SARIAN

Elite boars rest­ing in air-con­di­tioned quar­ters.

An elite boar that de­serves air-con­di­tioned quar­ters.

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