Why a well done pig farm could do you wonders

What you need to know:

  • Proper housing and equipment for raising pigs are essential to provide shelter against bad weather, prevent disease, control parasites and save labour. You do not need a massive barn to shelter your pigs.

Starting a pig farm is a project that can bring satisfaction and happiness to farmers if done well. Establishing a pig farm can bring income if it is done properly. Pig farming is easy and is a great way to make a profit in the short term.

If you are not careful, some common mistakes that you can make in raising a pig can make the task more difficult. In the article below, Seeds of Gold highlights some of the common mistakes farmers commit in their piggery.

Inadequate fencing

Pigs are one of the smartest animals you can raise. Not only will they learn how to dig a hole under a standard metal or wooden fence but they will also remember how they did it so they can do it again and teach others.

You need to buy special hog fences to keep them closed. You can use hog panels which have narrow openings at the bottom and wide ones at the top or you can install a three-strand electric system.

Whatever you choose, you must use strong fencing materials and train your pigs immediately. Hog panels are great because they are rigid and hard to bend. They handle the pressure of the pig well. However, it can also be more expensive.

The plus side is that if something falls on it, you do not have to worry about it getting damaged. If you decided to use electricity, you must inspect your fence before inserting the pigs.  Make sure they cannot move their body below the bottom line and make sure the fence is well charged around the entire perimeter.

Don’t give them enough space

Pigs tend to poop in specific area of their yard, after which they become too easier to clean. However, if you are collecting your pigs in the pen, you will soon find that they start to develop an odour. Make sure your pig pen is as far from your house as much as possible (this will also reduce fly problems). And give your pigs as much space to roam as possible. For commercial farmers, the minimum space for piggery is an acre. Make sure that piece of land has shaded trees. This gives your pigs plenty of pace to hang around, reducing the chances that they will become overly curious about the fence because they are bored. Put your piglets in a training pen which consists a pellet fence in a large electric-enforced area. It teaches them to be aware of electricity and also helps them to get used to it. Giving your pigs plenty of space also helps reduce their chances of being infected by parasites. Since they will not stick to their waste all day, they are less likely to pick up anything unpleasant in the soil.

Inadequate shelter   

Proper housing and equipment for raising pigs are essential to provide shelter against bad weather, prevent disease, control parasites and save labour. You do not need a massive barn to shelter your pigs. If you have been raising pigs for a few months before going to the butcher a three sided structure with a roof is a great shelter from the elements. Remember that you also need some shady places as pigs cannot sweat and it will get very hot. A wallow will help them cool down but they can also burn in the sun if they have light skin. Again you do not have to fancy your shelter.

Wrong choice in pig breeds

Large White, Landrace, Yorkshire, Duroc, Camborough are the most profitable breeds in Uganda. Choosing the right pig and feeding to maximise genetic potential are the keys to success. Firstly choose a pig that matches your target goals in terms of age and maturity. Choosing the right breed is essential for a successful pig farming business. Therefore, choose the breed carefully. “Before you make a choice, consult your agronomists. You should choose breeds that are readily available in your area,” says Andrew Kenyi a pig farmer.

Lack agronomy knowledge

Pigs are naturally very good breeders. If you keep a good ration of sows and boars, they will easily grow. Pigs usually reach the breeding age quickly. Boars and sows are both suitable for breeding at eight months. The duration of sow on heat lasts from two to three days. The first day if the best for breeding. The lactating sow is ready to breed again 10 days after weaning. The gestation period does not exceed 115 days. On average, a sow can give birth to about eight piglets twice a year.

A veterinary tags a piglet at Kasoroza Pig Breeding Centre in Rukungiri District garden. Photo / George Katongole 

Improper feeding

Feeding takes up to about 70 percent of the cost of raising pigs to maturity. To make any significant profit, you must find an alternative source of feed that is high quality but also cheap. Farmers need to find a cheap source of carbohydrates and learn to mix their food. You need to invest in resources such as automatic feeders which are durable. This is especially true to those who give water when it gets hot. You do not have to rely on hand-watering your pigs every day. You need to give them a reliable source of clean water and you make sure that they are not able to flip that source of water.  

Disease prevention and control

Pigs should be vaccinated against swine fever at two weeks of age. Breeding pigs must be tested for brucellosis. As a routine measure all pigs must be vaccinated against swine fever during weaning. The farm purchased animals should be purchased from a disease-free herd. Newly purchased breeds must be kept separate from other animals on the farm for three to four weeks. The pigsty must be kept empty for three to four weeks to destroy disease causing microorganisms.     

Care on farm

Hygienic pigs, regular animal control and biosafety are important components of breeding. Many farmers do not pay attention to precautionary measures until the main disease affects the large number of people and then they begin to think how the disease originated. What is often forgotten when planning the construction of a facility for keeping pigs is a small room in front of which workers can retrain and disinfect before entering the animals. Challenges relate to aspects of animal health and welfare. In the age of the global epizootic diseases, prevention and biosecurity measures are critical to maintaining a high level on health on your piggery. Caring for a good animal is essential to getting a good product from your business. However pigs are very tough and require little care and other management. Ensure a hygienic system in the house. This will help keep the animals free from all kinds of health hazards and diseases. It is a good idea to separate the sows and boars. Not all pigs are necessary for breeding. So keep some for breeding and castrate the rest of the pigs when they are four weeks old.

Advice

Avoiding contaminated food and water will be good for pig health. Take extra care for pregnant and lactating sow. Get them vaccinated regularly to protect them from swine diseases. Always try to have good contact with a veterinary doctor in your area.  It would be good to keep the pigs in a quiet place. And as a must avoid visitors.

Feeds

Cassava root is a good source of energy

Cassava leaves are a good source of protein

Dried cassava (fibre)

Sweet potatoes (source of energy)

Sweet potato leaves (protein)

Cooked green bananas (contain lignin)

Papaya leaves (source of vitamins)

Advice

Avoiding contaminated food and water will be good for pig health. Take extra care for pregnant and lactating sow. Get them vaccinated regularly to protect them from swine diseases. Always try to have good contact with a veterinary doctor in your area.  It would be good to keep the pigs in a quiet place. And as a must avoid visitors.

-----Adopted from agrifarming

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