Local Lao pig, Feeding management, Protein, Mineral, Mortality
TROPICAL ANIMAL HEALTH AND PRODUCTION; Vol.45 1; 149-155
A survey was carried out in smallholder farming systems in the districts of Borrikun, Khamkeuth, and Pakkading, in central Lao People's Democratic Republic, to assess the feeding regime and health status of local Lao pigs. In total, 216 farmers, 72 in each district, were interviewed using a questionnaire. Feed samples were collected for nutrient analysis and pen soil samples for mineral content determination. Farmers kept sows of native breeds such as Moo Lath, Moo Chid, and Moo Hmong. The number of sows per household was low (1.1 +/- 0.1, 1.1 +/- 0.1, and 1.2 +/- 0.1 in Borrikun, Khamkeuth, and Pakkading, respectively) and pigs were mainly fed with rice bran and fresh cassava roots. Daily protein and mineral (Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium) allowances were lower than requirements. In all districts, the number of piglets at birth was around seven and pre-weaning piglet mortality was around 20 %. The most common causes of piglet death, before weaning, were diarrhea, runts, and squashed piglets. Most piglets were weaned after 4 months of age, but in the Borrikun and Pakkading districts, 11-16 % of households were weaned at < 4 months. In all districts, pig management was mainly women's responsibility (around 90 %) and most farmers spent less than 1 h per day on pig management. A feasible and cheap way to increase nutrient supply to local pigs in central Lao People's Democratic Republic would be to include more fresh plant material (e.g., thick head, taro) and salt in the diet. Information and education on improving pig management should be targeted towards women.