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Traditional Feeding System for Pigs in Northeast India

Avijit Haldar Dhrubajyoti Das Ashok Santra Prasenjit Pal Saptak Dey Anup Das Dipjyoti Rajkhowa S. Hazarika M. Datta
Vol 7(8), 122-132
DOI- http://dx.doi.org/10.5455/ijlr.20170615051342

Smallholder pig farming is an important livelihood resource for the tribal people in Northeast India. The system of pig rearing is unique and traditional. Based on the traditional knowledge and resource availability, the farmers have evolved a feeding system for the pigs. The present study aimed to explore the traditional feeding system for pigs in Tripura, a state of Northeast India. The chemical compositions of local feed resources were done. All the feed items contained more than 85% organic matter. The main diet containing rice bran mixed with locally made rice bear waste (choak) had 11.3% crude protein. An on farm trial was conducted on eighteen healthy Hampshire crossbred female piglets at the age of 2 months old and the piglets were divided in three dietary groups to investigate the growth performances of pigs fed diet containing varying proportions of the traditionally made rice bear waste. Feeding of traditionally made rice bear waste upto 25% of total dry matter increased (P<0.05) growth rate and feed conversion efficiency in pigs as compared to the other two groups. In another study, data on growth and reproductive performances of seven pig varieties (12 female pigs for each pig variety) was collected from randomly selected 84 smallholder pig farms and analyzed by one way ANOVA with the post hoc comparisons by the Duncan multiple range test. The average body weights of female and male pigs of different pig varieties varied significantly (P<0.05) at birth, 2- month, 6- month, 1 year of age and during 1st conception. Hampshire cross pigs attained highest body weight (more than 85 kg) at 1 year of age as compared to the other pig varieties under the traditional feeding system. Indigenous Ghungroo pigs conceived at the younger age (253.64 ± 13.52 days, P<0.05) as compared to the other pig varieties. Piglet mortality ranged from 4.80 ± 7.28 to 15.47 ± 8.88% across different pig varieties (P=0.11). The present study suggested that the traditional feeding system might be utilized in an improved way for the pigs in a rural environment in Northeast India.


Keywords : South East Asia Northeast India Smallholder Pig Farms Traditional Feeding System Tripura

Introduction

Smallholder pig farming holds an important share in global livestock production (Oosting et al., 2014). About 56% of the world’s pigs originate from such system, each producing 2-5 head per year (Riedel et al., 2012). Smallholder pig farming contributes to the livelihood in many ways- income from products, insurance against drought, emergency cash requirements, household nutrition, manure for crops etc. besides direct and indirect employment potential to the farmers in the world (Lemke and Valle, 2008). Smallholder pig farming is prevailing within a mixed crop-livestock system in many South East Asian countries like China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, etc. In fact, China’s small-scale pig keepers are the largest community of pork producers worldwide. About 50- 80% of all pigs produced in China originate from smallholder farms (Neo and Chen, 2009). Similarly, smallholder pig farming is an important livelihood resource for either small or marginal farmers with less than 1 hectare of land and especially tribal people in India (Vision 2030, 2011). Though India share only 5.23% of total pork meat production in the world, Northeast India is contributing 28.0% of India’s total pig population. Interestingly, about 50% of the country’s pork is consumed in Northeast India by the way of own production as well as procurement of live pigs from other parts of the country. However, the system of pig production in the states of Northeast India is unique and traditional (Das and Bujarbaruah, 2005).

Tripura is one of states of Northeast India with a geographical area of 10,491.69 sq km. It extends from 22°56’N to 24°32’N, and 91°09’E to 92°20’E. In 2011, the state had the population of 36, 71,032, constituting about 30 per cent indigenous scheduled tribes (19 types) and many sub tribes. Rearing of pigs and eating pork are the part of the culture of the tribal people in Tripura. Pigs are the most important assets in subsistence agriculture farming system for the smallholders generating income for meeting planned and emergency household financial needs. The pigs are reared in a traditional way generation after generation. Traditionally, the pigs are fed locally available rice bear waste, rice bran, local grass, herbs, colocasia etc. This is completely a zero grain pig production system. However, there is a dearth of information on the chemical compositions of such type of feed items and the effect of the traditional feeding system on pig performances. Thus, the objectives of the present study were-

(i) To determine the chemical compositions of local feed resources,

(ii) To examine the effect of feeding locally made rice bear waste on pigs under farm management, and

(iii) To investigate the performance of various cross bred pigs on a traditional feeding regimen under the smallholder pig farming system.

Material and Methods

The experimental protocol and animal care were met in accordance with the National guidelines for care and use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching as approved by the Ethical Committee for Animal Experiments (ECAE) of ICAR Research Complex for North Eastern Hill (NEH) Region, Umiam, Meghalaya, India.

Collection of Feed Items and Proximate Analysis

The commonly used pig feed materials were collected. The plant origin feed resources were identified. The home made rice bear waste (locally called Choak) ready to serve pig feed samples were also collected. After sun drying, all samples were dried in a hot air oven (550C for 72 h) to calculate the dry matter content. After assessing the dry matter content, the samples were ground in a hammer mill to pass through a 1 mm sieve. The ground samples were preserved in airtight container until required for chemical analysis. The samples were analyzed for organic matter (OM), ether extract (EE) and crude protein (CP) as per AOAC (2005). Neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), acid detergent lignin (ADL) content of the samples were estimated following the method of Van Soest et al. (1991).

On Farm Trial on Feeding of Locally Made Rice Bear Waste (Choak)

An experiment was conducted for a period of 60 days duration to evaluate the dry matter intake (DMI), absolute growth rate (AGR) and feed conversion efficiency (FCE) of pigs fed diets containing varying proportions of the locally made rice bear waste along with a concentrate feed mixture at pig farm of ICAR Research Complex for NEH region, Lembucherra, Tripura, India.

Eighteen healthy Hampshire crossbred female piglets of similar initial body weight at the age of 2 months old were randomly assigned to three dietary groups- T1, T2 and T3. All the piglets were kept in well-ventilated separate pens with brick flooring and asbestos roofing. The T1 group piglets (control) were fed a basic diet containing commercially available concentrated pig feed mash (17.83% CP). In T2 and Tgroups, the total dry matter requirement for the piglets was met by replacing feed mash with 25% and 50% rice bear waste, respectively. Fresh and clean water was supplied in a water trough to all the piglets. Body weight of each piglet was recorded at weekly interval in the morning before offering any feed. After weighing, the concentrate feed mash and/or rice bear waste were offered to the pigs. Unconsumed feed in 24h was weighed and discarded daily. Dry matter of fresh feed items as well as residual feed was estimated. Dry matter intake (DMI) was calculated by subtracting dry matter of residual feed from dry matter of feed offered. Average growth rate (AGR) and feed conversion efficiency (FCE) of the experimental animals were calculated by using the standard formula (Brody, 1945).

Study on Smallholder Pig Farms

The present study was conducted in the tribal dominated 14 villages in 5 districts (West Tripura, Khowai, North Tripura, South Tripura and Dhalai) of Tripura, a State of Northeast India. The average annual rainfall of the study area is 2100 mm. The climate is hot and humid with temperature ranging from 100C in winter to 350C in summer. Two-stage stratified random sampling was made for the selection of 84 smallholder pig farms in the present study. Within the districts, Gram Panchayats (village council; a village based rural self Government in India) were allocated based on number of smallholder pig farms and interest of the farmers. Within the Gram Panchayat, villages were chosen randomly as strata- 1. Within each selected village, a minimum of 10 per cent of pig rearing farmers was randomly selected as strata- 2.

A pair of female and male piglets covering seven pig varieties, namely (i) indigenous Black Coloured Ghungroo, (ii) Large White Yorkshire, (iii) Meghalaya Khasi x Hampshire cross, (iv) Ghungroo x Hampshire cross, (v) Ghungroo x Duroc cross, (vi) Tripura Mali x Duroc cross and (vii) Ranci local x Tamworth cross of 3- 4 months of age was provided to randomly selected 84 tribal farmers (12 beneficiaries for each pig variety x 7 pig varieties) to rear and allow breeding for the production of piglets and making availability of quality piglets in the locality.

Collection of Data

Data on growth performance (body weight at birth, at 2 months, 6 months and 1 year of age) as well as reproductive performances like age and body weight at first conception, litter size at birth of different types of pigs were recorded regularly from 84 pig farms over a period of 14 months. Piglet mortality was calculated as the percent difference in the number of pigs born alive and the number of pigs that were weaned per litter. The age of the gilt when she was bred and conceived (age at first conception/ successful breeding) was calculated as the difference between sow’s ages at her first farrowing minus assumed gestation period of 114 days.

Statistical Analysis

In feeding experiment, the data generated on live body weight, DMI, AGR, FCE in control and treatment groups was subjected to t-test to determine the effect of treatment. The performances of different pig varieties with the corresponding phenotypic traits were computed by one way ANOVA and subsequent the pair wise/ post hoc comparisons were done with the Duncan Multiple Range Test. The means of all the breeds with respect to the phenotypic traits were placed in different groups on the basis of the homogeneity and the means of the homogeneous groups were identified by using superscripts. These have been tabulated trait wise with their corresponding significance level.

Result and Discussion

Several fields based studies on traditional smallholder pig farming systems have been reported in many South East Asian countries like India (Kumaresan et al., 2007, 2009), China (Riedal et al., 2012) and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Phengsavanh et al., 2011) indicating general household information, farm characteristics etc. In the present study, an attempt has been made to explore the traditional feeding system for the pigs in Tripura, a state of Northeast India for the first time.

The Available Feed Items

The pigs were mainly fed rice bran mixed with locally made rice bear waste (choak) fermented by using Muli (Chuan) as shown in Plate 1 and 2. Besides, local grass [Axonopus compressus (Swartz) P. Beauvois, Ess.], colocasia (Colocasia esculenta) and sometimes, a local herb, called taklai aiching (Commelina paludosa Blume) were fed to the pigs (Plate 3- 5).

avijit1.jpg avijit2.jpg
Plate 1: Muli (Chuan) is used for the fermentation of rice to produce bear Plate 2: Rice bran mixed with locally made rice bear waste (Choak) is fed to the pig
avijit3.jpg avijit4.jpg
Plate 3: Local grass (Axonopus compressus (Swartz) P. Beauvois, Ess. Agrostogr.) Plate 4: Colocasia (Colocasia esculenta) is collected for the pigs
avijit5.jpg
Plate 5: Taklai aiching (Commelina paludosa Blume) is fed to the pigs

The chemical analysis of the feed items was determined and shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Chemical composition of feed items on % DM basis

Chemical Composition

(on % DM)

Name of the Feed Items
Local Pig Feed

[Rice bran mixed with locally made rice bear waste (Choak)]

Local Grass

(Axonopus compressus(Swartz) P. Beauvois, Ess. Agrostogr.)

Colocasia

(Colocasia esculenta)

Taklai aiching

(Commelina paludosaBlume)

Organic matter (OM) 87.2 89.3 85.6 86.9
Crude protein (CP) 11.3 7.8 7.4 9.5
Ether extract (EE) 3.4 1.3 3.1 5.2
Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) 60.8 68.4 40.4 54.1
Acid detergent fiber (ADF) 35.8 32.7 18.8 18.9
Cellulose 28.2 28.2 16.1 15.4
Acid detergent lignin (ADL) 7.3 4.3 2.5 3.2

The present study explored that the pig feeding system was entirely different from the standard system in the smallholder pig farming system. The farmers of the region practiced almost a zero grain pig production system. The farmers themselves evolved, based on the traditional knowledge, feeding system for their pigs with locally available materials like rice bear waste (choak), rice bran, kitchen waste, local grass, herbs, colocasia etc. Previously, it was observed that on an average a pig was fed with 1 kg of local plants per day along with rice and kitchen wastes in Mizoram (Kumaresan et al., 2007). Though locally available materials were available to feed the pigs, there was a dearth of information on their chemical composition and their effect on pig performance. The present study documented the nutrients’ status of the locally available feed items. The average CP content of locally available rice bear waste was only 11.3%, which was less than the recommended level (12-18%).

The Effect of Feeding of Locally Made Rice Bear Waste (Choak)

Table 2 shows the effect of supplementation (either 25% or 50%) of locally
made rice bear waste on AGR and FCE of the crossbred pigs. The growing pigs fed with locally made rice bear waste upto 25% of the total dry matter showed an increased (P<0.05) AGR and FCE as compared to the control pigs as well as the pigs fed with locally made rice bear waste upto 50% of the total dry matter.

Table2: Effect of supplementation (either 25% or 50%) of locally made Choak (rice bear waste) on absolute growth rate (AGR) and feed conversion efficiency (FCE) of crossbred pigs

Parameters Group 1

(Control)

Group 2

(25% Choak)

Group 3

(50% Choak)

Initial BW (Kg) 9.23 ± 0.75 9.38 ± 0.94 9.21 ± 0.72
Final BW (Kg) 17.87 ± 2.11 23.03 ± 2.64 16.54 ± 2.01
DMI (Kg/day) 1.02 ± 0.06 1.05 ± 0.04 1.08 ± 0.03
AGR (g/day) 145.89b ± 0.02 164.71a ± 0.03 134.56b ± 0.02
FCE (%) 18.48± 2.61 21.57± 3.27 16.25± 2.27

a ,b Means for different groups with different superscripts within a row differ (P<0.05)

On farm feeding trial with different levels of inclusion of locally available rice bear waste in pig feed revealed its effect on the performance of the pigs. Feeding of locally made rice bear waste upto 25% of total dry matter could be effective to get an increased growth rate and better FCE under the existing farming conditions. Feeding of locally made rice bear waste beyond 25% of the total dry matter might not be beneficial in terms of a reduction in growth rate or live body weight gain for the pigs. Previously, it was found that diets were often energy-rich, but protein-deficiency in the smallholder pig rearing system (Loc et al., 1997; Rodríguez and Preston, 1997).

Performances of Various Pig Varieties

Table 3 shows the performances of various pig varieties on a traditional feeding regimen under the smallholder pig farming system. The average body weight of various pig varieties varied significantly (P<0.05) between 43.03 and 86.50 kg for female and between 46.05 and 89.50 kg for male at 1 year of age. Hampshire crosses gained the highest (P<0.05) body weight at 1 year of age, followed by Duroc crosses as well as Large White Yorkshire pigs. Ranci Local x Tamworth Cross attained below 50 kg body weight at 1 year of age. Ghungroo pigs conceived at the younger age (253.64 ± 13.52 days, P<0.05) as compared to the other pig varieties. There was no significant difference (P>0.05) in litter size among different crossbred pigs in the present study. Piglet mortality ranged from 4.80 ± 7.28 to 15.47 ± 8.88% across different pig varieties (P=0.11).

Table 3: Mean ± S.D. of the phenotypic traits of various pig varieties of the farmers (N= 12 x 7= 84) under field conditions

Phenotypic traits Indigenous Ghungroo Large White Yorkshire Meghalaya Khasi x Hampshire Cross Ghungroo x Hampshire Cross Ghungroo x Duroc Cross Tripura Mali x Duroc Cross Ranci local x Tamworth Cross
Pig variety 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Birth weight_F (kg) 0.77b±0.24 1.05a±0.10 1.14a±0.27 1.04a±0.10 0.73b±0.13 0.76b±0.14 0.74b±0.09
Birth weight_M (kg) 0.73b±0.16 1.15a±0.10 1.15a ±0.23 1.30a±0.15 0.79b±0.15 0.63b±0.20 0.78b±0.08
BW_2 month_F (kg) 9.06b±2.46 9.20b±0.80 10.27ab ±2.81 12.27a±2.85 9.77b±3.40 10.24ab±2.62 7.91b±1.61
BW_2 month_M (kg) 8.47cd ±2.46 13.66a±0.96 10.89abc±2.74 12.68ab±4.66 9.27c±0.63 8.71cd ±4.18 7.54cd±0.47
BW_6 month_F (kg) 22.47b±6.82 20.42c±5.83 24.10b±4.92 21.51c±3.32 33.72a±3.12 26.49a±9.73 20.23c±6.21
BW_6 month_M (kg) 28.13b ±5.85 27.68b±9.42 28.22b±2.16 21.03c±8.97 34.83a±2.64 30.60ab±11.63 17.71d±2.08
BW_1 year_F (kg) 57.33c±14.43 72.79b±8.01 86.50a±9.20 85.17a±10.65 71.58b±9.80 75.95b±7.53 43.03d±8.85
BW_1 year_M (kg) 62.17c±17.29 76.42b±9.81 89.50a±13.22 86.00a±9.90 73.00b±14.34 79.98b±14.30 46.05d±4.69
BW at 1stconception (kg) 49.08 c±7.89 60.21a±3.83 58.86b±2.78 51.22c±6.38 61.10a±4.36 54.57b±9.28 40.7d±6.29
Age at 1stconception (day) 253.64c±13.52 304.11a±9.63 284.42b±11.30 276.42b±11.30 283.54b±16.28 308.41a±14.67 289.67b±11.67
Litter size at 1stfarrowing 10.50±2.27 7.86±1.83 8.40±2.41 9.50±2.07 10.67±2.42 8.67±1.37 7.86±0.69
Piglet mortality (%) 8.98±8.64 12.32±8.99 4.80±7.28 6.02±9.57 10.28±6.37 15.47±8.88 12.57±4.24

The present study documented the productive and reproductive performances of seven pig varieties on a traditional feeding regimen under the smallholder pig farming system. The body weight gain upto 6 months of age in all pig varieties was low and probably somewhat sub-optimal in the present study. The pigs were given limited feed with low energy and low protein diet (rice bear waste) coupled with the low standard management practices adopted by the farmers and therefore likely comparatively slow growth rate. However, it did not reflect the true potential of the pig variety. The crossbred pigs (either Hampshire or Duroc cross) as well as Large White Yorkshire pigs were capable of attaining mean body weight between 71.58 and 89.50 at 1 year of age with a relatively low nutrient density feeding system. The performance of different pig varieties under low input production system has been reported earlier (Kumaresan et al., 2006; Lemke et al., 2006). Lack of appropriate feeds and fodder impacted the productivity of the whole systems through higher disease susceptibility and reproductive failure of the affected animals (Stür et al., 2002). The current study revealed that the slow growth rate of various crossbred pigs was one of the challenges affecting the smallholder pig farms.

There was scanty information on reproductive performance of village sows in smallholder farms. Recently, Nath et al. (2013) reported that litter size at birth of local pigs (4.3 ± 0.45) and crossbreed pigs (7.2 ± 0.33) as well as, age at first farrowing of local pigs (365.39 ± 7.96 days) and crossbreed pigs (337.24 ± 8.79 days) under a smallholder pig production system in tribal areas of Sikkim, a state of Northeast India. As Ghungroo pigs conceived at the younger age (P<0.05) with 49.08 ± 7.89 kg body weight as compared to the other pig varieties and gave birth of 10.50 ± 2.27 piglets at first farrowing, the farmers were satisfied with the performances of Ghungroo pigs. However, depletion of body mass in nursing Ghungroo pigs was reported by the farmers. Feed intake had a significant effect on sow’s reproductive performance (Koketsu and Dial, 1997). Mean age at first conception of other pig varieties was recorded between 276.42 and 308.41 days. Mean litter size at first farrowing ranged from 7.86 to 10.67 in the present study. In South East Asia, a mean of 8.96 and 8.94 piglets were born alive per litter for Landrace and Large white breeds, respectively (Kunavongkrit and Heard, 2000).

Piglet mortality was an important constraint in smallholder pig farms, estimated 18- 20% in many countries (Lanada et al., 1999; More et al., 2005). In the present study, mean piglet mortality was recorded between 4.80 and 15.47%. Low birth weights, insufficient milk, hypoglycemia, piglet anaemia, enteritis, and overlay might be the most common causes of piglet death (Aherne et al., 1999; More et al., 2005).

Conclusion

The current study indicates that the nutrient supply through the traditional feed resources for the pigs may be the bottlenecks in smallholder pig farms in Tripura, a State of Northeast India. It suggests a detail analysis of local pig feed sources for vitamin, mineral and amino acid content which is indeed necessary for the better utilization of locally available feed resources for the pigs. Though the locally available traditional feed resources fit well with the tribal culture and rural environment, there is a scope of evolving a suitable feeding strategy round the year utilizing the traditional feed resources to suit the smallholder pig production system. The present study provides useful data on growth and reproductive performances of seven pig varieties on a traditional feeding regimen under the smallholder pig farming system. Such kind of data is obviously useful to understand base line situations in determining opportunities for the improvement and sustainability of the smallholder pig farming system in the rural setup of Tripura and other States of Northeast India.

Acknowledgement

We thank all the smallholder pig farmers for their active participation and enormous cooperation during the investigation in the field. The necessary funds provided by National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP): Component- 3, National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, India are duly acknowledged. The authors wish to express their sincere thanks to all the technical staff of the Livestock Division of ICAR Research Complex for North Eastern Hill Region, Tripura Centre, Agartala, Lembucherra- 799210, West Tripura, India for their regular help and cooperation during the investigation in the field.

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