Pig farming has become one of the most popular ventures in Kenya with pig products registering a very high demand in the market. You might have noted how the pork industry has grown in Kenya over the years. It is with no doubt that this venture is quite promising. This, compared to other livestock farming is considered a better option because it is relatively easy to establish and work with. When properly managed, these animals can yield a better financial return because of their breeding rate and a feed-to-meat conversion ratio that is far better than that of other common livestock. This means pigs produce more live weight from a given weight of feed than other of meat producing animals. They also offer quick returns due to the marketable weight of fatteners (piglets you’re raising for the freezer) can be reached within six to eight months. Furthermore, pigs are also market-ready far sooner.
Pig farming can be grouped as intensive or free range. For intensive pig rearing, the pigs are kept in a high- density, closed housing system while in the latter; the pigs are run in smallish camps, foraging on feed crops such as oats, barley, lucerne and even grass. Opting between the two is a choice; depending with various factors which shall be listed later.
If you are new in this particular venture, Oxfarm Organic Ltd has made it easy for you. Highlighted are some of the major factors to consider when starting up pig farming venture.
Type and source of the breed
Carefully examine the best breed that do well in your area. Decide which pig breeds are the best fit for you and your land. Ensure too that you purchase the best quality breed. Ensure that you buy your pigs from a well maintained farm, free from pests and diseases. The boar you’re buying should come with complete records. From these you will be able to see the boars’ performance as well as his parents’ performances. Consider taking someone with prior experience and knowledge in in pig farming with when buying the animals for the first time. There are also regulations for moving pigs that you’ll need to comply with.
Adequate housing should be provided for the pigs to ensure that they are reared efficiently and comfortably. These animals need solidly built infrastructure including housing, water troughs and fencing. The site of the pigs housing must be at least 100m from the residential quarters. The buildings should face North-South in order to avoid exposing the pigs to the sun. Always ensure that the shelter provide enough shade in a free-range set-up since pigs are very susceptible to sunburns and heat stress. The shelter should be well maintained and very clean. Ideally buildings should not be erected too close to dams and rivers as these areas become too cold in winter and at night. Avoid poorly drained areas as these can become wet basins. The floor should neither be too smooth nor too rough. Too smooth cause falls while rough floorings could cause injuries to the pig’s legs and udder. There should be a room for feed and equipment storage. Housing should also be provided for the workers to ensure timely and all time farm maintenances.
Pigs survive with a wide variety of feeds such as forage, grains, kitchen left-overs and garbage, all of which pigs convert into valuable nutritious meat. Ensure feeding the animals with quality feeds to avoid parasites and diseases. An alternative of commercial feeds to livestock farming boosts the growth of the pigs and most importantly maturity. Feeding your pig on damaged grains and other leftovers reduces the stress of buying food stuffs and consequently you will spend less or no money on food, depending on the system you adopt. It is however worthwhile to note that using garbage and damaged grains as feeds for these animals can result in lower feed efficiency. A feed trough is necessary for pig feeding.
Disease management and control
Pigs are prone to several diseases such as diarrhea and therefore measures to prevent and control such diseases should be considered. Poor farm management can lead to pests and diseases that can adversely affect this enterprise. Always ensure that the hygiene standards are observed. Regular vaccination is absolutely necessary for pigs. Pigs should also be dewormed after every two months to ensure they are healthy. Every farmer should have own sows and boars. Sharing is discouraged to avoid inbreeding and the spread of diseases.
Adequate water supply
Adequate supply of clean water is always a necessity. Pigs require water for drinking as well as cleaning their shelter. An unreliable water supply leads to serious loss in productivity, disease and even mortality. A young, growing pig requires up to 10l of water a day while an adult pig can drink 25l to 50l a day. Water can be supplied to pigs through water troughs. The water trough should not be located near the feeding trough except for sows confined in a farrowing crate. The water trough should have an outlet to facilitate cleaning. The troughs should be big enough to hold enough water at any given time to enable the pigs to have water whenever they need it.
Adequate and efficient transport means should be accessible. Transporting the pigs and their products to the market require good transport. Also still, when buying pigs for a start-up, there should be a good transport means to take them to the site.
Before venturing into pig farming, make it a consideration to consider availability of a reliable market for the pigs and pig products. Pig farm should be cited where there is market potential for the products. You should not be station your this farming where there is taboo against the eating of pork. Survey of potential buyers of the product should also be carried out when planning for pig business.