The Art and Science of Farming Pigs

Establishing and running a profitable pig farming enterprise is an art and science. This makes it a huge subject that every farmer looking at producing pigs as a business must remain a student.

Interestingly the science is very basic and easy to understand. The science is that under normal external (Feed, hygiene, temperature etc) and internal (Health etc) circumstances, weight gain is genetically determined: It is obviously of no importance continuing to keep a pig that is either not growing or growing very slowly yet surviving on your scarce resources.

The art is in your ability to identify a slow growing pig and take necessary actions.

1) Any pig gaining below 600 grams for a 2.5 kilograms ration is a farm resources thief!
2) Growing a few pigs for Pork is not profitable.

Feeding Your Pigs Right

Good feed is necessary for growth, reproduction and the production of meat and milk.

Most farmers in Africa use locally available feeds that are less expensive, but can be nutritionally complete when properly prepared.

In fact, pigs can be fed well using only kitchen and dining scraps from a family’s household.

Grains, fruits, vegetable from markets and restaurant leftovers, are some of the sources of materials for feeding pigs.

Some feed pigs with yam, cassava and forage grasses.
Alcohol distilling residues: local alcohol can be made from millet, rice, maize, sweet potato, banana, etc. can also be fed the pigs.

Do not feed your pigs with any meat products without proper cooking.

Read Also: Paternal and Maternal Pigs Breeds and Breeding

Do not feed raw and uncooked carcass or part of a carcass of any mammal or bird . This includes any blood, offal, hide or feathers.
Pigs that feed on carcasses are at risk of contracting diseases that are contagious to even humans.

Some feed poultry excreta to pigs. This is not a good practice.

Daily Feed Requirements

The Art and Science of Farming Pigs

Dry Sows and Gilts: Dry sows and gilts require 2.5 -3kg a day of or feed. And should get a feed with at least 16% crude protein content.

For a good outcome give an extra 1kg/day at least one week before serving gilts and sows and one week after service.

Lactating/ Nursing sows: Give 2.5 kg a day for maintenance and 300g a day extra for each piglet being suckled. That is, if the sow farrowed 10 piglets, the sow gets 5.5kg of feed daily.

Boars: Give boars 2 -2.5 kg a day depending on production use.

Piglets: piglets should be given feed high in crude protein content to enable fast growth and development. Give 0.5 – 1.0 kg a day from day 7 up to weaning time per piglet. This depends on the breed and growth rate.

Growers and Finishers: For growing or finishing pigs all ration changes should be made gradually. If this is not possible the feeding level of the new diet should be low until the pigs become accustomed to it.

Good pig feed contains sufficient energy, protein, minerals and vitamins.

The following are good feed ingredients for pigs
Maize, soya bean meal, barley, wheat bran, vegetable protein, oilseeds extracts, fatty acids,vitamins, rice bran, broken rice, palm kernel cake, cassava, vegetables and distillers’ residues or brewer’s waste.

Many farmers prefer mixing all the different feeds together (Rice bran, PKC, maize and soya etc.) in proportion and giving it directly to the pigs. While some cook the different ingredients to improve digestibility and neutralize inherent toxins.

Some feed stuff contain toxins when raw such as cassava. While others contain anti-nutritive factors such as Soya beans and corn.

Read Also: Weaning and Advantages of Early Weaning in Pigs

This requires a level of detoxification which can be achieved through cooking, toasting, fermentation or sun drying.

Feed wastage on farms should be reduced to minimal by providing enough feeding trough spaced out to accommodate all the pigs in a pen at the same time.

Water Requirements

The feeding trough can also be used to supply water. At large farms automatic drinkers are used called nipples.

A pregnant sow requires 8- 12 litres of water daily.

A lactating sow requires 20 – 25 litres of water daily.

A growing pig requires 5 – 8 litres of water daily.

A boar requires 10 – 15 litres of water daily.

Together, we will get there!!


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Benadine Nonye

An Agric. Consultant & a Writer. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Visit My Websites On: - For Scientific Research Based Agricultural Knowledge and Innovations. - For Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Natural Health Benefits. - For Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices. Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4ProfitsTV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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