Tuesday, 23rd April 2019


Most livestock farms will usually deal with their own animal breeding, leaving nature to take its inevitable course and getting the stocksperson to monitor and assist by intervention. Yet, some farms may not have the time and resources to breed their pigs or cattle, and may have a bigger demand than what nature can supply. In these cases, a contract breeder will be hired to look after health and welfare of the animals throughout the entirety of the breeding and weaning process.

By using contract breeders, farmers can use the space on their farm for growing pigs for the market without the extra workload required to breed the pigs as well.

Contract breeders usually specialise in breeding pigs, using suitable premises or farm units to care for the animals and to stimulate the breeding and weaning process. Contract breeders may sometimes be self-employed, employed by farms to look after their sows for a period of time, caring for them, keeping them healthy and happy before introducing a boar or artificial insemination for the breeding process.

Once the sows are pregnant, contract breeders are responsible for caring for the pigs, feeding them sufficiently, keeping them comfortable and liaising with the vet before the farrowing (birth) process. The piglets must then be weaned from the mother once they are ready, and then sold back to the farm owners for payment.

Contract breeders must be aware of, and follow, the animal welfare regulations as set out by the Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and other organisations. Caring for the animal is just as important as getting them to reproduce sufficient amounts, and can sometimes require enlisting the help of farm-hands or stockpersons.