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Other name(s): Piétrain Pig
Scientific name: Sus domestica
Country / Place of origin: Belgium
History: The Pietrain Pig is a breed which was native to the village of Piétrain in Wallonia, Belgium. The Pietrain is famous for its high yield of lean meat, and it became a foundation breed in the early 1960s for Spain and Germany, Europe’s largest pork producing countries. Until recently, the Pietrain was associated with the presence of the gene for Porcine Stress Syndrome, and for this reason the use of purebred Pietrain's in pig production has been relatively rare and the breed is most commonly found in crossbred and synthetic terminal sire lines. In 1995, a genetically modified Pietrain, called the Piétrain Réhal, has been available. This pig lacks the gene which causes Porcine Stress Syndrome.
Current Uses: Meat
Appearance: Pietrains are medium sized pigs that are typically white with black to gray “piebald” markings. The ears are erect. They are short and stocky with relatively wide backs. They are also muscular and lean, with bulging ham areas, making them a commercially desirable breed.
Average weight: 100 - 250 lbs.
Lifespan: 6 - 9 years
Grooming: Pigs are one of the easiest domestic animals to groom. They only require a good washing with a mild shampoo to remove dirt from the body and feet. For show pigs, excess hair is clipped from the tail and ears. A hairbrush can be used to tidy up the hair and remove any dust particles or sawdust that may be clinging to the animal’s coat.
Diet: As omnivores that eat plants and animals, Pigs will consume almost anything that is edible like fruits, roots, flowers, grass, insects, worms, all types of meat, and even leftover scraps from the dinner table.Unlike ruminant animals (cattle and goats), pigs have a single stomach. For healthy and fast growth, pigs require a high-energy diet composed of grain (corn, oats, wheat, barley), plus protein and vitamin supplements. Most commercially available feed for pigs combine various farm grains and the necessary supplements to ensure rapid and efficient development. Pigs are best allowed to self-feed or eat as much as they want during the day to enable them to grow as fast as they normally can. Feeding should always include a good supply of clean, fresh drinking water.
Housing: Pigs are active, curious animals that require room to explore, exercise, and just be their natural energetic selves. Sufficient space, relative to their size and weight, is a primary consideration because pigs that are crowded or confined to small spaces become stressed, and healthy growth and development is hindered.Although constantly roaming and appreciative of open yards and fresh air, pigs also require a shed or housing that will let them sleep on a dry and clean area at night. Ideal ambient temperatures are 60-70F. Warm shelters with wood chip bedding are a must during cold months; water misters are recommended for the hottest months. Pig housing should also include a feeder and a drinking water dispenser (usually a water barrel). Access to a water source makes it convenient to clean or hose out the pig shelters (and the pigs) as needed. Chain link fencing, shade trees, and a pond are recommended for backyard habitats. Pig owners are advised to check with local authorities for legislation regarding the ownership and keeping of pigs in their homes and backyards.
Health issues: Despite their energy and gregarious nature, Pigs are sensitive animals. They are easily stressed by travel, vaccinations, extreme temperatures, and new surroundings. Stress makes them susceptible to ailments like pneumonia and bronchitis (due also to their small lungs relative to their size). They are also susceptible to animal viruses like influenza. Pigs commonly suffer from mad itch (or pseudo rabies), dysentery, and parasites (lice, ticks, and ascarid worms).Healthy pigs have shiny hair, bright eyes, strong appetites, and high energy. Their normal temperature is 102.5F. Deviations from the normal temperature and other signs of poor health including diarrhea and coughing should promptly be brought to the attention of a veterinarian.
Behavior / Temperament / Activity level: As omnivores that love to eat, Pigs can be fun to watch while they explore their surroundings in search for something to munch on. They use their snouts to smell and unearth a potential meal. They are intelligent and social animals that quickly get used to the presence and affection of humans.Some Pigs are intelligent enough to learn tricks, obey commands, and use a litter box. Because they have no sweat glands, they tend to cool themselves by rolling in water or mud. The mud that dries on their skin serves as a sunscreen and protection from parasites like ticks, lice, and flies.