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Factors to consider before venturing into pig farming business

By Grace Chomba

Young pigs

Pig farming is a sensitive venture that calls for a high level of management. Pigs are adaptable and rapidly growing species that require adequate space, quiet environment and enough food. They can yield a better profit margin since one pig can give birth to about 10 to 15 piglets.

Their breeding rate and ability to give a better feed to meat conversion rate than other livestock and market readiness makes the venture more lucrative.

A farmer must consider the following factors before starting a pig farming business.

Water

Water is life and when it comes to pig farming, unreliable supply of water can lead to reduced productivity, disease and even cause death. A young growing pig requires up to 10l of water a day while an adult pig can drink 25l to 50l a day.

Ensure that there is enough water supply that will serve your herd. In case something goes wrong, ensure you keep at least three days' water in reserve.

To breed or not

It is advisable to buy young pigs, rear them and sell some before starting to breed them. This will put you in a better position to learn pig farming protocols.

Breeding pigs can be more complicated than rearing pigs.

During the breeding process look for traits like adaptability to the environment, reproductive rate, growth rate, and carcass value for a better breed development.

Housing

A house is a vital factor, you will require a solid built-in infrastructure. Ensure it has water troughs and proper fencing.

Pigs require a dry bed and protection from extreme temperature and sunburns. Make sure there is enough spacing as overcrowding can lead to diseases like diarrhoea.

Cleanliness and hygiene should be maintained at all times.

Feeding

The pig feed to meat conversion rate is about 60 to 70 per cent hence the importance of feeding them appropriately at each stage of production. Pig feeding requirements are influenced by several factors like age and body weight, the genetic potential of your pigs, housing environment, and physiological state of the pig.

They are omnivores hence you can mix their feeds with a range of other ingredients to produce a balanced diet.

Other ingredients should include small amounts of meat meal, fish meal, soybean meal, blood meal, tallow, minerals vitamins, salt and limestone. Don’t forget to supplement the diet with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Avoid feeding them illegal feeds like food scraps and wastes from kitchen scraps, processors and manufacturers, food retailers, hotels, and rubbish dumps.

This will help control the spread of foot and mouth disease and the African swine fever.

Remember to vaccinate them and feed them until they are market-ready.

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