Swine Biology Overview

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Inflexible Parameters

  • Gestatation length
  • Estrus interval
  • Age at puberty
  • The biology of swine growth and development imposes constraints on herd management, facilities design, and productivity. The boundaries of some biological parameters are relatively inflexible, but for others, the boundaries are highly influenced by genetics or the environment.

    Swine production is usually compartmentalized into two phases: Breeding (Reproduction) and Growing. This division arises because the inputs to these two phases are quite different from one another. A major reason for the compartmentalization is the need to segregate young animals from older for disease control.

    Productivity of the herd is governed by biological limits, which are often unattainable ideals. Instead, Production Targets are established for the herd and Action Levels are chosen as points of intervention. If herd performance declines to the extent that an action level is reached, the herd manager takes action to improve performance.

    Swine biology may be thought of as a flowing, cyclical process (as illustrated below.) You may return to this biomap at any time by pressing the  button.


    Flexible Parameters

  • Growth rate
  • Feed conversion     efficiency
  • Fecundity
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    Copyright ©1997 by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
    Faculty: Dr. Paul Pitcher
    Student: Sandra Springer,'99