Growth performance of Sarda purebreed suckling piglets reared in smallholder farms

Monday, July 21, 2014
Exhibit Hall AB (Kansas City Convention Center)
Chiara Sulas , Dipartimento di Agraria, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
Salvatore Fele , Agenzia LAORE Sardegna, Cagliari, Italy
Giuseppe Giorgio Fruttero , Agenzia LAORE Sardegna, Cagliari, Italy
Serafino Biagio Gusai , Agenzia LAORE Sardegna, Cagliari, Italy
Gianni Battacone , Dipartimento di Agraria, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
Abstract Text: The Sarda pig has been recently included in the Italian register of swine native breeds in order to preserve its genetic diversity and typical productions. Sarda piglets are usually raised on small farms. The most important product is the suckling piglet slaughtered at about 8-10 kilograms of body weight, used for the preparation of traditional dishes. In this study, a survey was carried out to assess growth performances of purebred Sarda piglets during suckling period in smallholder farms. Twenty sows located in two farms, were housed in individual pens prior to farrowing. Stillbirths, born live, and birth weights for all litters were recorded. All piglets were ear-tagged and weekly weighed until weaning. Animals were grouped  according to litter size: medium-small (5 to 8 pigs born alive), and medium-large (9 to 12 piglets). Effects of farm, litter size group and sex on individual average daily gain (ADG) were tested with an ANOVA model. A multiple linear regression model was used to evaluate the influence of age, litter size and sex on body weight. Birth weight of piglets did not differ between farm and litter size category, whereas, males were heavier (P =0.039) than females (1556 vs 1458 g, respectively). The ADG of the piglets during the suckling time did not differ for sex and farm. Piglets of medium-large litters had a slower growth than medium-small litters (ADG was 108 vs 124 g, respectively). Results of regression analysis (R-Sq = 0.75) indicate a significant influence of age and litter size (P<0.01) on body weight.  Growth performances of suckling pigs were less than that of pigs of most conventional swine breeds. However,  profitability of this breed seems strongly linked to the consumers preference for its meat as a key component of originally regional dishes.

Keywords: growth, suckling piglets, Sarda pig breed