Kariuki Gikonyo’s farm is located in Maombi village in Subukia constituency and Emilio Gathura manages it. The farm has various farming projects, including pig rearing and dairy farming, but our focus on the day of the visit was on pig rearing. The farm had become popular in the region for producing quality pig and pig products.
The farm specialises in rearing the large white and the landrace breeds. It holds around 100 pigs, and during the time of our visit, there were about 70 pigs in different stages of growth. Unlike many cases where pigs are kept in large numbers under a single pigsty, in this farm, the situation is different as the pigsty is subdivided into small cubes of various sizes well ventilated, each holding a maximum of four pigs.
The reason for partitioning is to ensure that the animals are comfortable, reduce unfavorable competition among them, and for hygiene purposes, as Gathura tells.
“Putting pigs in one shed makes them uncomfortable as the adults may attack piglets, and at times they are not even able to feed sufficiently. This affects their health hence decreasing their produce, and as a farmer, you may not achieve the target.”
“We put a maximum of four pigs in a subdivided shed to ensure that the animals are comfortable and also to maintain hygiene.” They use various ways of classifying animals to fit in the same shed by mostly considering sex, breed, and age.
Gathura said pig rearing is very profitable since pigs reproduce faster and in large numbers.
“If there is an animal that is worth keeping, it is a pig since it produces speedy and in large numbers. For example, a sow can comfortably farrow thrice in a year delivering more than ten piglets per farrow (delivery), meaning that in one year, one female pig can give a farmer around 30 piglets.”