Farming styles

Pigs’ needs are quite unique compared to other farmed animals. They need constant access to shelter, a balanced diet and regular care and supervision.

To meet these needs, New Zealand’s commercial pig farmers have adopted a range of farming methods that they believe best suit their animals.


Indoor Pig Farming

In New Zealand, many farmers prefer indoor farming because they believe it allows them to provide the best care for the modern animal by allowing them to carefully manage their environment. It is estimated that around 60% of New Zealand’s pigs are farmed in this way.

Pregnancy and farrowing

During gestation sows are farmed indoors in groups. When they farrow, they are housed individually in specialist facilities that are easy to keep clean and meet the different temperature requirements of the sow and her piglets.

Weaning, growing and finishing

A variety of housing systems can be used to house pigs after weaning. Pigs can thrive in diverse environments which provide shelter from the elements, space and access to feed and water. As they grow their feed and temperature requirements change.


Outdoor breeding

Around 40% of New Zealand’s commercial breeding herd is farmed outdoors. However, outdoor breeding can only work where there is a moderate climate with low rainfall and free-draining soil conditions. In New Zealand, these conditions are mostly found in parts of the South Island, like Canterbury.

Pregnancy and farrowing

During gestation sows are farmed in groups in paddocks with huts for shelter and shade. When sows farrow, they are provided with individual, dry and draught-free huts with straw for warmth.

Weaning, growing and finishing

A variety of housing systems can be used to house pigs after weaning. Pigs can thrive in diverse environments which provide shelter from the elements, space and access to feed and water. As they grow their feed and temperature requirements change.


Free Range Pig Farming

For pork to be classified as free-range in New Zealand, the pig must have lived its entire life in an open paddock, with access to shelter which they can move in and out of freely. It is estimated that less than 2% of New Zealand’s pigs are farmed this way.

Pregnancy and farrowing

During pregnancy, sows are farmed in paddocks with huts for shelter and shade. When they farrow (or give birth), they are provided with individual, warm, dry and clean huts with straw.

Weaning, growing and finishing

Free range piglets are generally weaned after 4 weeks and are housed in groups. Their shelter enables them to move in and out freely, with access to and from open paddocks.