Most livestock breeders who raise pigs at home are interested in their charges gaining as much weight as possible. To do this, they feed on specially developed methods and are required to constantly monitor the weight of piglets and adults. At the same time, the pig does not always agree to stand calmly on the scales, therefore, several ways have been invented to find out the mass of a living animal.
It is not so difficult to weigh a pork carcass, but having already killed the animal, you cannot correct your own mistakes in the process of raising it. This is why it is so important to constantly check the current weight of the piglet or adult pig. Knowing how much a pig weighs at a given moment is important for several reasons:
- with a noticeable underweight or overweight, conclusions can be drawn about the unsatisfactory state of health of the artiodactyl and urgent measures can be taken;
- regularly updated statistical information allows you to calculate in advance the efficiency and profitability of pig breeding;
- slightly slowed down (or, conversely, overly accelerated) growth may indicate that the dosage or composition of the feed is not selected correctly - thanks to accurate measurements, this can also be determined at an early stage of the problem;
- truthful information about the weight of the pig allows you to accurately calculate the dosage of various drugs and vaccines for her, so that they are effective, but do not cause harm.
Of course, observing only your animals and not having much experience in breeding pigs, it is impossible to accurately identify the problem - perhaps what seems to you to be the norm is in fact a sign of not the best condition of the entire livestock. For this reason, livestock breeders not only take the appropriate measurements and record them in order to see the dynamics, but also compare all the main indicators with tables, where the average rate for each breed is prescribed. Insignificant deviations from the indicated values can be perceived as a variant of the norm, but if the numbers are very different, it means that the pig breeder has made a mistake somewhere. In this case, you should take into account the smallest factors that affect weight gain.
For example, it has been proven that those pigs that are raised in the company of their own kind gain weight faster - their appetite is stimulated by the presence of competitors who are able to eat everything even without the participation of their relative.
The weight of each pig, regardless of age, also largely depends on the breed - some pigs are a priori larger than others, and what for some would be impressive in size, for others may be a sign of stuntedness. For this reason, it is advisable to look for averaged statistical information for each breed separately. So, for all pigs in general, the normal weight of a newborn piglet is defined as 800 grams, the maximum is usually estimated at about 1 kilogram . For comparison, babies of the popular Vietnamese pot-bellied breed usually reach the same 1 kilogram no earlier than ten days after birth.
The big plus of measuring a newly born pig is that it is not yet very active, and you can get all the necessary information even with the help of scales. Moreover, just at this moment it is optimal for weighing, since it is usually advisable not to give the animal food or drink for at least two to three hours before the procedure . A newly born baby needs to be fed literally every 30–40 minutes, therefore, at the moment of birth, when he has never eaten anything in his life, he needs to be weighed, because in the next few weeks he will be constantly eating.
The pig is in great demand in agriculture, in particular, because it is characterized by an extremely fast rate of weight gain. This is somewhat confusing if measurements are taken irregularly, so it is important to develop a correct schedule for frequent measurements. For comparison, if the average newborn piglet weighs up to 1 kilogram, then the monthly weight is expected to be 8-9 kilograms, and in the third month of life it can weigh all 25 kilograms.
With such a fast weight gain, it is unacceptable to round off the month by “shortening” the month to 28 days or “stretching” it to 33 - this will introduce strong distortions in the indicators and may lead to false conclusions.
Average weight of adult pigs
The weight of adult pigs is not determined with the help of scales, not only because it is difficult to force them to stand on them, but also because trampling the animal in place negatively affects the readings. In this regard, it is recommended to use electronic scales, which are less prone to distortion, but still you are unlikely to get an accurate mass of the animal. In some cases, the error is very large and sometimes reaches a good 20 kilograms per carcass, so be critical about reconciling your own observations and tables of average weight. In addition, do not forget about the differences between different breeds - for example, Hungarian mangalitsy often have quite an impressive mass, but Vietnamese pot bellies, on the contrary, are considered "babies".
If you are raising an animal for slaughter, then meat feeding usually involves fattening up to 100-120 kilograms, and bacon - from 90 to 100 kilograms. At the same time, the same "flip flops" are cut even with a weight of 80 kilograms. Animals that go to slaughter are usually young - they are slaughtered in the first year of life, but the breeding material is much older, therefore, over the years it has managed to grow much more. A sow of different breeds quite easily reaches 150 kilograms of live weight, and for a boar even 200 kilograms is not the limit. There are cases when perennial individuals were fattened to half a ton!
If the calculation of weight is not so much for adjusting the dosage of feed and drugs, but for determining future profit, you need to focus not on live weight, but on slaughter weight.
This indicator allows you to determine how much the carcass of a slaughtered pig would weigh, if you subtract from there the "secondary" products - hooves, head, offal and tail. There is no need to specifically calculate it: over the centuries of pig breeding, such measurements were made many times, and the approximate percentage of live and slaughter weight has long been determined.
The exact slaughter weight of a pig depends on how much it weighed live - as a rule, the heavier the pig, the higher its percentage of useful. So, with a live weight of 80-100 kg, the slaughter weight is about 70-75%, that is, the total meat and fat on the bones should be from 56 to 75 kilograms. With an increase in live weight to 150-180 kg, this figure rises to 80-82%. Animals heavier than 180 kilograms are usually not slaughtered on an industrial scale, however, here the slaughter weight would be maximum - approximately 83–85%, that is, not less than 150 kg per carcass.
In terms of slaughter weight, the pig is far ahead of any of its domesticated competitors. So, in the case of beef, the slaughter weight is only 50-60% of the live weight, and in the case of sheep and goats - even less: only 44-52%.
Finding out the exact weight of a pig is not so easy, however, livestock breeders still need at least approximate statistics. For all the time that a pig lives in a domesticated form next to a person, various schemes for determining its weight have been invented. It is difficult to say which of the options should be considered the most accurate, but the abundance of methods allows you to measure weight with the most plausible indicators, simply by comparing the results obtained from different methods.
Let's consider the most popular methods for assessing live pork weight.
It is quite obvious that the dimensions of the animal's body cannot but have a proportional relationship with its mass. At some point, people noticed that the most complete idea of a pig's weight is given by measuring its length and chest girth. It should be noted that for very small piglets, such measurements do not work - they have a slightly different ratio of body parts, therefore even knowing the formula will not help to correctly determine their weight.
The length is measured along the spine: the base of the tail and the middle of the conditional line connecting the two ears should be considered the end points. The minimum length of the animal, at which the readings of weight measurements can be considered plausible, is considered to be 38 cm, while the largest boars can grow up to one and a half meters.
Another important indicator that also needs to be considered is chest girth. It is measured behind the shoulder blades, in the narrowest place of the body - while the ends of the tape hanging on the sides should be located strictly vertically. Again, with a girth that does not even reach 60 cm, the "baby" proportions of the piglet do not contribute to the correct calculation of the mass, but the upper limit of this indicator is still the same one and a half meters.
This method is not very good as the pig is unlikely to stand obediently while you are measuring it. On the contrary, an attempt to grab it and make it stand still can scare the animal, it will start spinning and pulling away, therefore both the length and chest girth will most likely be approximate - you simply cannot perfectly fit the tape measure to the skin. At the same time, the length and thickness of the legs also affect the final indicator, so you should not rely heavily on the obtained indicators. But the advantage of this method is that you don't even need to know the formula - the weight of the animal with each combination of parameters is entered in a table that can be easily found on the Internet.
In general, measurements help to find out the weight of a piglet not less than a month old or an adult pig, whose weight range is from 11 to 273 kilograms.
According to the age
This method is very, very conditional at all - here we are talking not so much about measuring as about making an estimate. It makes sense to use it only if you have a lot of young pigs, and you see by the example of a healthy majority that someone is lagging behind. On the Internet, you can find an average table of the approximate weight of piglets depending on age, but the specifics of the breed, care and feed will definitely affect this. For this reason, such a table can only be used as a guide for the farmer so that he knows what to expect from his livestock.
As already mentioned, the average newborn pig is quite small - in the range of 0.8-1 kilograms in weight. At the same time, a discount can also be made on the size of the sow: if it is a very young and rather light female, she will not be able to give birth to well-fed cubs immediately. However, if the piglets at birth weighed exactly as much as indicated in the averaged table, already within the first month, provided that they are properly fed, their weight should increase tenfold - at least up to 8 kilograms. At about 2 - 3 months, the baby is already gaining 25 kilograms, and this moment is very important, if only for the reason that with such indicators, young animals of any breed must be weaned from their mother.
After that, the stage of rearing begins, when the digestive system of the piglet is ready to accept absolutely any feed, and the young organism grows rapidly and literally before our eyes. It is at this stage that the daily weight gain in some breeds can reach 800 grams, so you should not be surprised that already in 3-4 months a representative of any medium-sized breed pulls a good half centner or even 60 kilos. By the age of six months, the mass of a young patch is already approximately equal to the weight of an adult and is 70–80 kg.
6 or 7 months is one of the best ages to slaughter a pig, as its meat and lard are still very tender, but the carcass weighs a good 100-110 kilograms. After that, within a month or two, the rate of weight gain decreases rapidly, therefore, animals designed specifically for meat or meat-fat breeding are most often slaughtered no later than 9 months. If until this moment the pig has not been knifed, on average, at ten months of age, she ends puberty (at least for females), and she is ready to become a sow. To obtain normal healthy offspring, such a pig should already weigh 130–150 kilograms, although a striking example of the fact that this is not a universal value are the same “Vietnamese”, which are allowed to mate at four months and weighing at least 30 kilograms.
Using the coefficients
The formula that makes it possible to determine the mass of a living animal by the ratio of the length of its body to the girth of the chest does not always take into account certain features of individual breeds. For example, in greasy, meat-greasy and purely meat pigs, the structure of the figure itself is somewhat different, so it would not be entirely correct to scratch them all with the same brush. In this regard, such a concept as a correction factor was also introduced.
If you know exactly what type of breed you are raising, you can try to calculate the exact weight of the animal using a formula - it will be quite difficult to find a table with ready-made solutions.
However, the formula itself is quite simple: the length of the body and the girth of the chest must be multiplied among themselves, and then the resulting number must be divided by the coefficient. Sebaceous rocks usually have a low coefficient - 142, since their body is not at all tucked up, and will sag in all other places, although it will work to pull it off behind the shoulder blades with a tape measure. In meat-greasy breeds, this coefficient is already higher and amounts to 156; for thin animals of meat breeds, it is the highest - 162.
For information on how to measure the weight of a pig according to the table, see the next video.