Traditional Rearing Practices Of Indigenous Pigs In Tamil Nadu
International Journal of Livestock Research
Tamil Nadu covers an area of 130,058 km 2 (50,216 sq mi), and is the eleventh largest state in India. Indigenous pigs were domesticated and well adapted to our ecosystem. A study was conducted on pig rearing system among the people who rear pigs as their main source of income for their livelihood. The study revealed that the indigenous pigs were reared under traditional system by the particular community people and were evenly distributed among all parts of Tamil Nadu and is the main source of
... the main source of income. The phenotypic characters showed that these pigs were indigenous to this state and their existence was noted since many centuries. People use various indigenously made materials/utensils for housing and feeding. Pigs were fed mainly with locally available feed resources, through scavenging and rooting. Commercial sale of animal and meat was also practiced. Certain tribe/community practices century old established indigenous technical knowledge in pig rearing and they are passed through many generations. Indigenous traditional knowledge would significantly contribute to the generation and pave the way for exploitation of technology to benefit tribal/rural populations. Tamil Nadu covers an area of 130,058 km 2 (50,216 sq mi), and is the eleventh largest state in India. The bordering states are Kerala to the west, Karnataka to the North West and Andhra Pradesh to the north. To the east is the Bay of Bengal and the state encircles the union territory of Puducherry. The southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula is Kanyakumari which is the meeting point of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean. Tamil Nadu has a coastline of about 1,076 km (669 mi) which is the country's second longest coastline. Tamil Nadu is mostly dependent on monsoon rains, and thereby is prone to droughts when the monsoons fail. The climate of the state ranges from dry sub-humid to semiarid. The state has two distinct periods of rainfall: south west monsoon from June to September, with strong southwest winds and North east monsoon from October to December, with dominant north east winds. The annual rainfall of the state is about 945 mm (37.2 in) of which 48 per cent is through the north east monsoon, and 32 per cent through the south west monsoon. Since the state is entirely dependent on rains for recharging its water resources, monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe drought. Tamil Nadu is divided into seven agro-climatic zones: north east, north west, west, southern, high rainfall, high altitude hilly, and Kaveri Delta (the most fertile agricultural zone). Survey A field survey was conducted to study the traditional pig farming systems in Tamil Nadu. Survey was conducted in 44 villages of Tamil Nadu. The data was collected from 144 farmers using pre-framed questionnaire and recorded from randomly selected people both through personal interviews and observations with suitable photographs. Result and Discussion Pig Rearers and Their Livelihood Women also involved in rearing pigs. All individuals irrespective of age were involved in rearing of pigs and 60% of the farmers were between 30-40 years of age. 90 % of the farmers completed their primary education. Individual's average herd size is 25. The indigenous pigs were reared by 85 % of poor and landless farmers belonging to specific communities. Mostly the pigs were reared under scavenging system. Few farmers also rear cattle, sheep and goat along with pig. The rearing of pig is profitable when Pig serves as food and nutritional security for certain communities of people. Most of them are reared under free range / scavenging system. Scavenging systems allow pigs to roam freely day and night. The pigs roam freely and may or may not return to the shelters and usually shelter underneath the trees. Few people have separate enclosure/shelters for piglet and rarely for adult. The type of housing varied based on the local climatic adaptation and locally available resources. Materials such as mud bricks, cement bricks, bamboo, concrete, wood and iron sheets were commonly used. The roofing material is usually thatched leaves and some people use asbestos / iron sheets. Page180 Feeding Indigenous pigs are omnivorous. Usually pigs were fed with the kitchen waste from hotels, hostels, etc. Most of the people feed the pigs once daily either in the morning or in the evening. No specific sounds are made to call the pigs. The feed is dumped in a place; all pigs make way to that place for feeding at a particular point of time. In some circumstances, they also provide commercially available feed which includes grains, cereals, meat, fish meal, etc. No separate feed for piglets, weaner and for adults. They are fed in groups irrespective of their age or size or sex. The water trough is usually made up of tyre with the half cut in it for easy feeding. Usually they feed banana leaves, rice, and food waste from hotels, canteen, etc. They don't feed concentrate feed. Fig. 4: Indigenous pigs feeding on hotel waste Pig Rearing Practice Pigs were reared in free range system and few at backyard. The pig farmers practice low input production system. Breeding is mainly by the natural service and no selection was practiced. The breeding boar is very difficult to find or catch. No extra care was given to the pigs. Pigs are reared mainly for pork consumption. Farmers are not aware of the common diseases of pig and their incidence due to lack of attention / knowledge. Further, the people approach/seek veterinary assistance very rarely and in case of Fig. 3: Hotel waste for feeding indigenous pigs Health Monitoring the health of pigs periodically is not possible in scavenging system. But, in case of any sudden outbreak of diseases, they isolate the diseased pigs based on their experience and treat on their own. Mostly the sick animals will be slaughtered or sold immediately. The animals are mostly under scavenging system, hence, no deworming/vaccination has been carried out. Marketing The animals are purchased at the farmers' place or through the middle men. There is no organized marketing channel for indigenous pigs. The slaughter of the animals is by jatkha method. The pigs were slaughtered twice in a week preferably on Sunday. Each individual market their own meat and is usually on the road side shops. No special products are made from meat of indigenous pigs. In some areas, the meat is cooked and sold for the people depending upon their needs. The pigs were sold based on the live weight (Rs.50-60/kg). Demand for younger pigs is higher than the adult pigs, both in terms of frequency and numbers. Usually few adult pigs are reared in sheds. It is considered as a social act for safeguarding traditional needs. During religious functions of certain communities, the demands for indigenous pigs are so high and hence, pay more for live weight during this period. Mostly adults over one and half years were preferred for religious functions.