Pig farming is a lucrative business and everyone with passion for farming should consider venturing into it.
What is pig farming?
Pig farming is a branch of animal husbandry and management that deals with the rearing and keeping of pigs. It is also known as piggery or hog-farming. Pigs or swine are short-legged, omnivorous, domesticated farm animals. People rear pigs mainly because they are a good source of meat, fats, and skins. Their meat can also be processed into foods like gammon, pork, bacon and ham.
Terminologies Related to Pig Farming.
Boar: An adult male pig.
Sow: An adult breeding female pig.
Piglet: The young one of a pig.
Pork: The meat of a pig.
Herd: A group of pigs.
Why pig farming?
People don’t want to rear pigs because they are ‘dirty’, so there is the big question; ‘’Why start a pig farm?’’
Apart from the fact that pig farming is a lucrative and profitable business, there are also other reasons why pig farming is better than other forms of livestock management.
They grow faster: Pigs have rapid body growth when compared to other livestock like cattle, goats. They develop better when they are fed well at least twice a day
Pigs breed faster: Pigs have high reproductive efficiency. They attain sexual maturity within their 7-12months of age. They give birth twice a year and each time they produce up to ten piglets.
Their cost of feeding is low: As omnivores, pigs can eat almost anything ranging from household food wastes, grains, meat, fruits. Hence the cost of feeding is low
They serve as source of fertilizer: The excreta or dung pigs produce can be used as fertilizers.
It requires low capital to start: The capital needed to set up a pig farming business is relatively low. All you need to do is buy and rear a mature boar and sow.
Feeding the pigs.
Pigs can eat from a variety of food types ranging from millet, maize, cornmeal, wheat bran, rice, grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and even household food wastes. However, one should screen or properly cook any meat given to one’s pig so as to avoid the risk of the pig being infected with a disease. Also, the pigs need to be provided with lots of water as pigs need lots of water to drink and cool off their skin.
Housing the pigs.
Keeping them in the field: Pigs can be kept in fenced pastures on the field where they are allowed to graze openly. However, the field should be sited away from houses and the fences should be constructed in such a way that pigs won’t be able to escape.
Keeping them in a pig sty or pen: Pigs are more commonly reared in a building or an enclosed structure called sty or pen. When rearing pigs in a sty, precautions should be taken to ensure that the area chosen cannot be flooded in rainy seasons. Also, the floor of the sty or pen should be sloped for proper drainage of water and urine. The earthen floor of the pen should be plastered with concrete so as not to encourage the spread of diseases. The concrete floor of the sty should be 6-8cm thick, because if it is too thin, the pigs would start to dig it up. The pen should not be sited near houses.
Different breeds of pigs
Hampshire: These breeds of pigs are characterized by their black color and rings(belts) of white color. They are mainly bred for their meat. The females(sows) are noted for their mothering ability.
Duroc: These pigs have a red or brown skin coloration with partially drooping ears. They have a unique, fast growth rate. The average weight of a boar is 320kg while the average weight of the sow is250 kg. Their meat(pork) is good for bacon production.
Berkshire: These breeds of pigs are characterized by their black color. They also have a rapid growth rate and their mothering ability is never in doubt. They are valued due to the high quality and nutritional value of their meat.
Yorkshire: This breed is easily recognized by its white, long body with a set of erect ears. They have high reproductive efficiency. The average weight of a mature boar of this breed is about 350kg while that of the sow is about 250-300kg. Their meat is particularly noted for making hams and gammons
Landrace: These breeds are of a Danish origin. They characterized by their white color, their long body and a set of large drooping ears. They have a high breeding capacity and their meat is suited for bacon and gammon production
Other breeds include: The mulefoot, Chester White pigs, The British saddlebacks, Hereford pigs etc.
- Signs of ill-health in pigs.
Farm animals show different signs when they are sick or infected with a disease. Listed below are the signs and symptoms a pig may show to indicate its ill-health.
Diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nasal and eye discharge, coughing, sneezing, labored breathing, lameness, abortions, vomiting etc.
Ways of preventing diseases in pig farming.
The pigs should be vaccinated against certain diseases.
Improve hygiene on the farm.
Keep a warm, clean pen or pig sty.
They should be fed properly with high quality foods to prevent malnutrition.
Regular inspection of pen or sty.
Regular deworming exercise should be carried out
Clean, good and adequate water should be provided to the pigs
A veterinary doctor should carry out regular health inspections on the pigs.
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