Other common names: Piétrain Pig
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.
Appearance / health:
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.
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:
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.
Housing / diet:
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.
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.
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Great meat quality
Pietrain pigs are very good in terms of meat production. I have seen pigs with a conversion of 300 to 350 grams of meat per kg of food and a daily weight gain of 500 grams, which is excellent. However, I have had several of these pigs die out of stress so you must be very careful when handling them. When I sell meat from Pietrain pigs the profits are really good because it has a very low percentage of fat. Females are not very good mothers. Overall, I would recommend this breed for meat production but only if you have vast experience in pig handling and production..
From Dr Stephanie Flansburg Cruz Apr 1 2015 11:20AM
Slow Growers and Requires More Food
When I first saw this pig, I did not like her color, having black spots all over her body. But when I came closer and examined her body, I was amazed. She was well muscled and you'll know that she gives excellent meat. And so, I was excited to see her grow and have kids.
To our surprise, she grows slow and so we need to feed him more than the other pigs. She is not good in foraging too and seems to be irritable at times. So we always make sure that she has a well maintained clean space with fresh water and all.
Overall, I do not recommended this pig to first time breeders..
From Evane Oct 8 2014 3:47AM