The Mong Cai pig is one of Vietnam’s most popular breeds for use in pork production.
The breed resides in the northern part of Vietnam, mainly in the North Mountain provinces, the Red River Delta and parts of the Central Coastline.
Prior to the promotion and distribution of the Mong Cai breed throughout Vietnam, the 'I' pig (which you can read about here) was previously the most popular. The increasingly popular Mong Cai led to a dramatic reduction in ‘I’ pig populations.
The disease resistant nature of the breed and the high-prolificacy of the Mong Cai breed were also contributing factors to the breeds increased popularity. The breed is now considered the main local breed in the country.
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The Mong Cai is primarily raised for meat production purposes, though people do keep them as pets also.
They are a medium to small sized animal, generally found with a black colouration and a white band running from the shoulder right through the abdomen, creating a black saddle over the back’s middle concave. Their head is black in colour, while their ears small and standing upright.
They are famed for their ability to thrive on poor quality feeds, while they also have a reported high resistance to disease, though this has yet to be scientifically proven. That being said, excessive dirt can lead to the development of Lung diseases in the breed, making hygiene in housing extremely important. This is due in part, also, to the breed having small lungs in comparison to their body size. The breed is also a naturally clean animal and will look to excrete waste away from their resting place.
The Mong Cai breed is capable of growing quite rapidly on a roughage diet and some farmers have reported Mong Cai pigs gaining up to 0.5kgs per day when given access to good quality feed. They perform very well if given access to fruits, vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods.
A prolific breed, Mong Cai sows have an average litter of 12 piglets, with piglets weighing an average of 1.1kgs at birth. They do, however, have a fast growth rate and piglets should more than double their weight within a week.
Gilts tend to reach sexual maturity at just 2-3months old, with Pigs weighing up to 60kgs at one year old. At this stage, they also have an average backfat thickness of up to 59mm and are ready for slaughter. Their meat is used for products such as ham, bacon, sausages and pork. It is also widely consumed throughout the world, with Mong Cai meat said to have a sweet taste.
A very intelligent animal, Mong Cai pigs are capable of finding food supplies with their powerful snout. This makes up for their eyesight, which is poor. Highly prolific, adaptable and a breed with excellent weight gains, the mighty Mong Cai of Vietnam.