Pig breeders oversee the production and day-to-day care of pigs. They maintain the health and welfare of pigs.
The duties of a pig breeder include, but are not limited to:
- Distributing food to pigs
- Observing animals for signs of illness and giving medication when necessary
- Performing facility maintenance
- Checking for proper ventilation and temperature conditions
- Assisting with problem births
- Performing artificial insemination or other breeding duties
- Coordinating waste removal
- Transporting stock to farms or processing plants
The work of a pig breeder may involve being exposed to the elements and extreme temperatures from time to time, although commercial pig breeding is generally conducted indoors in climate-controlled buildings.
As with most farming and livestock careers, a pig breeder often must work long hours that include nights, weekends, or holidays.
The following job titles also refer to pig breeder:
Nearly all pig breeders have at minimum a high school diploma, with many holding college degrees in areas such as animal science, agriculture, or a closely related field. Coursework for these degrees usually includes courses in animal science, production, meat science, anatomy and physiology, genetics, reproduction, nutrition, ration formulation, technology, business administration, and agricultural marketing.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Pig breeder is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Pig breeder career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to pig breeder.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of pig breeder. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of pig breeder with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of pig breeder.
- Livestock reproduction: Understand natural and artificial reproduction techniques, gestation periods and birthing for livestock. Understand the humane destruction of relevant animals in accordance with national legislation.
- Signs of animal illness: Physical, behavioural and environmental signs of health and ill health in various animals.
- Animal nutrition: Aspects of how different animal species are fed and provided water. Different types of animal food, the quality criteria for animal food and methods to feed and give water to animals.
- Animal welfare legislation: The legal boundaries, codes of professional conduct, national and EU regulatory frameworks and legal procedures of working with animals and living organisms, ensuring their welfare and health.
- Livestock feeding: Food given to domestic animals in the course of animal husbandry.
- Livestock species: Livestock species and relevant genetics.
- Health and safety regulations: Necessary health, safety, hygiene and environmental standards and legislation rules in the sector of particular activity.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of pig breeder.
- Control animal movement: Direct, control or restrain some or part of an animal’s, or a group of animals’, movement.
- Manage animal biosecurity: Plan and use appropriate biosafety measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure effective overall biosecurity. Maintain and follow biosecurity procedures and infection control when working with animals, including recognising potential health issues and taking appropriate action, communicating site hygiene control measures and biosecurity procedures, as well as reporting to others.
- Carry out specialised procedures for pigs: Carry out specialised procedures such as branding, tagging, castration, tail-docking and tooth cutting in humane manner taking into account the hygiene, welfare and safety regulations
- Manage pig breeding: Manage a suitable environment for pig breeding. Select and prepare the appropriate habitats for specific kinds of pigs. Monitor the pig’s growth and health and ensure correct feeding. Determinate when the pigs are ready for trade, consumption or other purposes.
- Provide nutrition to animals: Provide food and water to animals. This includes preparing food and water for animals and reporting any changes in the animal feeding or drinking habits.
- Assist in transportation of animals: Assist with the transportation of animals, including the loading and unloading of animals, the preparation of the transport vehicle, and maintaining the wellbeing of the animal throughout the transport process.
- Provide first aid to animals: Administer emergency treatment to prevent deterioration of the condition, suffering and pain until veterinary assistance can be sought. Basic emergency treatment needs to be done by non-veterinarians prior to first-aid provided by a veterinarian. Non-veterinarians providing emergency treatment are expected to seek treatment by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Feed livestock: Calculate feed rations for all stages of growth and prepare, distribute and control quality of fodder.
- Monitor livestock: Monitor and record the production and the welfare of the livestock.
- Maintain professional records: Produce and maintain records of work performed.
- Manage the health and welfare of livestock: Assess the current health status of your livestock. Manage any existing disease or disorder, including the requirements for isolation of livestock. Plan and manage a livestock health and welfare plan including clearly defined targets, consulting with specialists/advisers where appropriate. Work closely with the veterinary surgeon and other specialist consultants/advisers.
- Create animal records: Create animal records according to industry relevant information and using appropriate record keeping systems.
- Maintain animal accommodation: Make sure animal enclosures such as habitats, terrariums, cages or kennels are in the appropriate and hygienic condition. Clean the enclosure and provide new bedding material if called for.
- Manage animal hygiene: Plan and use appropriate hygiene measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure an effective overall hygiene. Maintain and follow hygiene procedures and regulations when working with animals, communicate site hygiene controls and protocols to others. Manage the safe disposal of waste according to destination and local regulations.
- Care for juvenile animals: Assess the needs of the offspring and juvenile animals. Take appropriate action without delay in case of problems with the health of the offspring or juvenile.
- Dispose of dead animals: Dispose of dead animals which are not considered a source of meat. Bury or cremate the animal based on the wishes of the owners or on other criteria.
- Monitor the welfare of animals: Monitor animals’ physical condition and behaviour and report any concerns or unexpected changes, including signs of health or ill-health, appearance, condition of the animals’ accommodation, intake of food and water and environmental conditions.
- Operate farm equipment: Supervise the smooth running of farm equipment which can include high pressure cleaning equipment, heating or air conditioning and monitor the temperature of premises. Make sure tractors and other vehicles are running smoothly. Interpret instructions given by computer programs and report simple operations.
- Manage livestock: Manage production programmes, birth plans, sales, feed purchase orders, materials, equipment, housing, location and stock management. Manage the destruction of relevant animals in humane manner and in accordance with national legislation. Follow businesses requirements and integration into qualitative research and knowledge transfer.
- Assist animal birth: Assist in animal births, and care for newborn livestock.
- Administer specific drugs to facilitate breeding: Administer specific drugs for synchronisation of breeding cycles to animals in accordance with veterinary and owner instructions. This includes the safe use and storage of drugs and equipment and record keeping.
- Select livestock: Tag, sort and separate animals by purpose and destination taking into account the condition of the animal and relevant legislation
- Administer treatment to animals: Administer animal medical interventions, including the treatments performed, medicines used, and assessments of the state of health.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of pig breeder. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Animal welfare: Universally recognized animal welfare needs as applied to species, situation and occupation. These are:
- need for a suitable environment
- need for a suitable diet
- need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
- need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
- need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
- Computerised feeding systems: The functioning of computered controlled systems that provide animal feeding.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of pig breeder. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Assess management of animals: Evaluate the management of a wide range of animals including the care, welfare and housing environment of animals in a zoo, wildlife park, stable, farm or animal research facility.
- Advise customers on appropriate pet care: Provide information to customers on how to feed and care for pets, appropriate food choices, vaccination needs, etc.
- Assess animal nutrition: Assess the nutrition status of animals, diagnose dietary imbalances and prescribe correction.
- Advise on animal purchase: Advise clients and customers on the purchase of animals.
- Maintain equipment: Regularly inspect and perform all required activities to maintain the equipment in functional order prior or after its use.
- Maintain welfare of animals during transportation: Keep the health and welfare of animals during transportation, including frequent monitoring for signs of stress and symptoms of ill health.
- Train animals: Train animals to facilitate their routine husbandry, for treatment, and/or public demonstrations.
- Implement exercise activities for animals: Provide exercise opportunities that are suitable for respective animals and meet their particular physical requirements.
- Work with veterinarians: Consult veterinarians and assist them in the examination and nursing of animals.
- Assess animal behaviour: Observe and evaluate the behaviour of animals in order to work with them safely and recognise deviations from normal behaviour that signal compromised health and welfare.
- Advise on animal welfare: Prepare and provide information to individuals or groups of people on how to promote the health and well-being of animals, and how risks to animal health and welfare may be reduced. Provide recommendations for corrective actions.
ISCO group and title
6121 – Livestock and dairy producers
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