Many young people I interact with ask me, “What livestock farming can I do that doesn’t require a great deal of work and almost guarantees good returns?” Pig farming is the best option. Here's our guide to everything pig farming from A to Z. Pig ventures require a pigsty, young piglets, a boar or pregnant sows, as well as feed and equipment.
Housing for pigs
In general, a pig house can be built from locally available and affordable materials, provided there is enough land available in a quiet, safe, well-drained environment with adequate lighting and access to clean water.
It would be ideal to have a plot of land measuring 60 feet by 40 feet. It is important to consider the age and sex of the pigs when building the house. The floor must be 3 meters x 3 meters and raised about 60 centimeters from the ground. It is important to leave a 2 centimeter gap between each board or to use concrete. The house should be rainproof, with the roof facing the sun while also having a shade area. Get more info about fiber glass beam.
There should be good ventilation, no overheating, no smells, no drafts, and no dampness in the house. Pig buildings should be divided into different pens for each phase of production. Depending on the number and size of pigs to be housed in each phase of production, the number and size of the pens need to be determined.
Pigs grow at various ages and stages, so the following space requirements apply.
Pigs for fattening require 0.5 - 1.0 sq m per pig, pregnant sows 1.5 - 2.0 sq m per sow, lactating sows 4 - 6 sq m per sow, weaning piglets 0.3 - 0.5 sq m per piglet, and breeding boars 6 - 8 sq m per boar.
Lactating sows are the future of every venture. They require the utmost attention in a quiet environment, so individual pens tend to be required. In a creep area, there should be provision for a furrowing pen, heating and cooling arrangements, piglet nests, creep feed, and starter feed for piglets.
When housing many pigs, you should make a calculation based on these standard requirements. Once you achieve this, your pigsty can be stocked.
Generally, there are five exotic breeds of pigs, which are selected according to production targets and prevailing weather conditions. These breeds have high infection rates, but are prolific producers and gain up to 3kg of weight daily.
Originally kept as a free-range breed, the Large White is highly adaptable to different production systems. Large Whites are most popular because of their availability and prolificacy, which has an average litter size of 12 piglets. They have excellent maternal skills and produce large quantities of milk.
Despite not being as prolific as the Large White, Landrace piglets gain the most weight daily (average 10%) of any breed.
A Yorkshire pig is also one of the largest breeds of pig.
The Hampshire breed produces good quality bacon with an average litter size of nine piglets. Hampshire litters are weaned more quickly than Landrace litters.
In addition to Tibetans, Durocs, Tamworths and Meishans, which have a litter size of 14 to 17 and 8 to 9 teats each, other breeds include Tibetans, Durocs, Tamworths and Meishans.
Profitability and breeding
Imagine you buy two pregnant sows for between Sh30,000 and Sh60,000 from your source at the lowest possible price. It takes approximately three months for the sows to furrow after they have been confirmed pregnant after 23 days post service. Transport and veterinary costs are also important to consider. Within three months, your sows will produce an average of 11 piglets each. If they are well cared for, they will reach the age of 24 by then.
Depending on the feeding system, these pigs can be sold as weaners at about Sh3,000 each or kept for up to seven to eight months after which they can be sold or bred.
This is where the money lies. A finisher pig will cost between Sh13,000 and Sh16,000. This is irresistible wealth assuming you sell 15 of the weaned piglets!
If you start this business in an area where pig production has not picked up, you can provide breeding stock for your area.
Assuming half of the litter were female and had no abnormalities, you would serve them all using a quality boar and sell them as pregnant sows. Even at the lowest price of Sh30,000, this would be about Sh330,000.
For the gilts, a boar can be purchased or bred on farm, or a group of farmers can pool together to keep boars for ensuring there are no reproductive infections in the sows. Boar services are also available for hire.
Pigs must be fed and given veterinary attention among other expenses, so a business venture without expenses is no business. Pigs of all ages must be fed according to physiological requirements that will result in the greatest weight gain and the highest level of procreation in breeding sows. It is possible to formulate the feed yourself or purchase it from a company. Commercial preparations tend to be well balanced and compounded, unless they are purchased from an unscrupulous company. In most cases, feeds are purchased according to the manufacturer's specifications.
Commercial feed for pigs
It is important to feed pigs balanced feed to ensure optimum growth, body maintenance, and production of meat and milk for lactation sows. There are inexpensive, locally available feeds that can be nutritionally complete when prepared properly. Sometimes, pigs can be fed well using only leftovers from your kitchen. Pigs' nutritional needs can be divided into six classes based on their needs — water, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Equipment for feeding
Pigs are fed in feeding troughs like other animals. The pigsty floor should be firmly anchored to ensure the food trough doesn't overturn, preventing wastage and soiling. Pigs prefer fresh, non-contaminated feed for optimal growth and production, just like other animals.
Feed troughs should not be mouldy or clogged with water in order to maintain hygiene standards. Pig feeding times should be established to make the animals familiar with a feeding regime and they should be fed according to their size and age. There must also be enough space in the feeding area to feed all animals adequately.
To maintain proper hygiene, feed troughs must be cleaned frequently. Watering equipment must also be kept clean and watered continuously (provide water adlibitum).
Depending on the farm size and automation, troughs, bowls or nipples can be used. Water intake varies by animal. Lactating sows consume about 20 to 30 litres of water every day. These must be fixed to prevent them from overturning. Visit our website www.pigequipments.com to get more info about pig farm equipment.
Choosing the best breeds to source
In order to start, you need capital, a pig shed, feeding troughs, a known source of feed, and advice from a qualified veterinarian. To source pigs, choose seasoned pig farmers with best practices in the field to purchase from. These can include rural folks who have worked in this field for years.
In addition to offering a large market for live pigs hygienically kept according to their recommended standards, Farmer’s Choice is a formidable source of breeding stock for those who are able to afford it. In addition to the University of Nairobi Vet Farm in Kabete, other institutions also breed pigs.
Pigs roam free
There is no doubt that pig farming sounds lucrative, but it is not recommended if you intend to keep pigs as free-range animals. The reason is that your pigs could cause acquired epilepsy in your neighborhood.