Pre-Weaning Growth Performance of Piglets at Smallholder Farms in Gauteng Province

  •  Matshidiso Matabane    
  •  Khathutshelo A. Nephawe    
  •  Ronald S. Thomas    
  •  Ayanda Maqhashu    
  •  Fhulufhelo V. Ramukhithi    
  •  Thivhilaheli R. Netshirovha    
  •  Jones W. Ng’ambi    
  •  Mammikele Tsatsimpe    
  •  Tshimangadzo L. Nedambale    


The objective of the study was to determine pre-weaning performance of piglets born following artificial insemination (AI) at smallholder farms of Gauteng province. Data from 496 piglets originating from 73 multiparous crossbred sows were used in the study. Litter size, number of piglets born alive, number of piglets weaned, birth and weaning weights were recorded. Data was analysed using the Proc Univariate procedure of SAS. The average litter size was 11.8. The average birth weight and weaning weights were 1.9 and 6.2 kg, respectively. No significant differences were found between male and female piglets for all the growth performance characteristics. Piglets born during winter had a significantly higher (P < 0.05) birth and weaning weight as compared to autumn and summer months. Season had a significant effect on birth and weaning weight (P < 0.01). However, sex of piglets had no significant effect on all the characteristics recorded (P > 0.05). The interaction between sex and season was only confirmed on the total number of weaned piglets (P < 0.01). A highly significant positive correlation was found between litter size and number of piglets born alive (r = 0.86) and total number of piglets weaned (r = 0.50). A highly significant correlation was found between total number of piglets born alive and total number of piglets weaned (r = 0.55). In conclusion, season of birth had the greatest impact on birth and weaning weight, with the highest birth and weaning weights recorded during winter season. However, sex did not affect the pre-weaning performance of piglets.

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