Pig farming is becoming more pronounced as a lot Kenyans are realizing the significance of becoming a business owner.
Agriculture and agribusiness are gaining the attention of more people day by day, which means hundreds of thousands of Kenyans are much interested in Pig farming.
Here you can find How to start poultry farming and how to start snail farming , which have also been discussed in a great detail on this website.
Equally, you can also find our tutorial about fish farming here.
We`ll be revealing to you how to start a profitable pig farming in Kenya today, which is one of the relatively easy business you start and make a lot of money in return.
I will be dividing this tutorial into three different parts or sections.
First I will be introducing you to the world of pigs and piggery.
In the second part, we will carefully analyze the steps of what you have to do to start a successful pig farming business in Kenya.
And lastly i will be rounding off with some piggery advice and basic terms in part three.
Are you ready?
Alright here we go.
Pig Farming in Kenya: Introduction
What is pig farming?
Pig farming is a branch of animal husbandry, and it is simply the raising and breeding of domestic pigs.
Pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the suidae family of even-toed ungulates.
Pigs include the domestic pig and its ancestor, the common Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) along with other species; related creatures outside the genus include babirusa and the warthog.
Pigs are mainly raised for food and their skins.
Pig is a native of Eurasian and the African continent (yes, our own Africa)
The child-pig or juvenile pig is known as piglets.
A place or site where pigs are raised is known as piggery.
Normally a pig will have a big head with a long snout strengthened by a special bone which is found before its nose, and by a disk of cartilage at its tip.
The snout or nose is a very acute sense organ and it is the tool which pigs use to dig into the soil to find food.
Pigs are very popular animals as there are around 1 billion pigs around the world at any given time.
Can you see why pig farming is very popular?
One thing worth taking note of is that pigs are not reared everywhere
Pig farming is prohibited in some places, especially the places where their religious beliefs go against pigs. So it will be unwise to market your pigs in such environment as it is capable of crashing your pig farming business.
Diverse Pig Breeds / Species
There are hundreds species of pig which include American Yorkshire, Aksai Black pied, Angeln Saddleback, Beijing Black, Bangur, Bisaro, Berkshire, wild boar, bearded pigs, and warty pigs.
These species are more common in certain geographical locations than others locations.
Now, let us proceed to the second part of this tutorial.
8 Steps to starting pig farming in Kenya
Determine the size of your intending pig farming business.
First you have to decide and clarify the size of the pig farm you want to start. The amount of capital you have in your hands for the business and other sources are things that can help you in determine the size of your intending pig farm.
In other farming businesses, the intended size of the farm determines other choices including like the target market, housing, labour, feeding etc. The same is true for pig farming business.
Take for instance If you intend to have a small pig farm of around 10 -15 pigs, you may want to use somewhere around your house or particularly your backyard as their pen (house).
But with a large scale piggery business in mind, this is not possible.
Make research on the pig market in your location.
The world is flooded with so many dumb people (including the world of business). You will see people working hard to produce things, and after that they immediately jump into a search for buyers which they can sell to.
It’s a serious mistake, though not intentional (in most cases).
I know you`re not dumb.
Before venturing into any business, the wisest thing a good business minded person will do is first understand the market itself, and then the market forces. I will explain.
As you`re planning to start a pig farming business in Kenya (or elsewhere in Africa), you have to consider the marketing part of your intending business.
You just have to.
First ask yourself this question; who and who around here will buy my pigs?
Do they buy them alive or as pork?
What are the forces that determine the market demand?
Do people eat more pork at certain time?
Are there taboo or religious beliefs against pork around here?
Who are the market players now? Is there available space in your market no one is serving yet?
All of this is called marketing research and it is a must as it highly determines your success in the business.
It’s one of the basic steps that you cannot afford to miss in your entrepreneurship journey.
Building your pen (pig house)
A good shelter is very important, not just for pigs but even you as a human being. You need a good shelter to maintain good health and a comfortable workspace.
Imagine a bank without a single air-conditioner (AC), how will the bankers feel?
The same case goes for pigs and any other animal, without good housing they cannot enjoy their stay.
Let me tell you something!
Animals have little sense too…
Are you surprised? They have little sense much more than you think, they do not multiply in an un-conducive environment. If you have reared any kind of animal before and made this mistake, then you will understand better what I am saying.
So to ensure comfort ability and health for your pigs, you need to pay attention to their peg.
That’s very important!
Your pen has to be spacious and as neat as possible (in order to avoid insects and diseases).
If you want to start on a medium scale and commercial level, then you may consider a plot of land or half of it.
Pigs love to stay together, so if half a plot accommodates certain number of pigs (depending on their sizes), you should not expect the same plot of land to accommodate two or three times the quantity of pigs which half plot accommodates. It will accommodate more. They love to lie and be around each other, so the more pigs, the less space, to an extent.
It’s often not a good practice to make your pig pen rectangular in shape, it’s to make it square, not rectangular.
Though rectangular pen can be used, it`s not going to give you the best in the management of your pigs.
It`s as well advisable to let the floor of your pen drain very well and not be clay or poorly draining floor.
This is because pigs have pointy hooves that bear much weight.
A clay soil may not cause much problem in the dry environment, but can quickly make life tough for your pigs when the environment is wet because it can cause injury, feed wastage and can contribute to illness.
Should you consider concrete pens?
Concrete pens could be used for pig farming in Kenya.
Concrete pens are good because they alleviate the problem of mud/footing that can be caused by the clay or web floor, but also present their own problems. They hold heat during hot months and could result in joint injuries and illness.
Pigs will natural love their pen to be divided into four areas: where they feed, where they sleep/lie (they like to sleep near each other), where they urinate/defecate (they naturally choose these themselves) and the remaining part of the pen is used to move from one point to another.
Lastly, when constructing the pens in your piggery, you have to assume they are all big… market size NOW.
This is important because, when the pen is too big, more pigs can be added to the pen, but what happens when the pigs in your farm are too much than the pen?
How easy it is to break down your pen and reconstruct another one?
Do not be like the farmers that leave their pigs in an un-conducive environment and ignorantly blame the low productivity of their farm on something else.
Now let’s see the next step…
Getting healthy piglets (pig-children) for your pig farming in Kenya
Imagine you raising a pig that will be giving birth to just one piglet in six months!
What and what will you consider before adopting a child?
Her health, her history, and other things right?
Whenever you are planning to get your piglets, be sure you find out the best sources around you.
Just like any human, piglets are likely to take some of the traits of their parents, sickness, the number of children they bear, etc.
Ensure that your piglets are healthy and endeavor to find out a few histories about their parents. That will definitely be of good help.
You also need to be sure that they have been given the appropriate vaccines.
Pig feed; how pigs eat in the pig farm.
Just like the way human beings eat, especially when it comes to quantity, it`s vary from a certain factor to the other. Depending on factors like your age, your sex, the nature of your work or whether you exercise or not.
The same is true for your piglets and pigs.
Some people suggest feeding your pigs twice in a day. While this may be a good standard, other factors have to be considered.
For example the age of your pig or piglet, and the breed (specie) of your pig. Amount of grass they have access to and other wild food (such as acorns) available, weather, how warm their bedding is and how much exercise they are getting are some of the main factors that you need to consider.
Now, you can see how the rate and quantity of food pigs eat can vary.
But as a matter of hypothesis, piglets can be expected to eat 1lb of pig pellets per day for every month of their age, 2lb of pig pellets at two months, 3 lb. of pellets at three months, 4lb at four months,
Then after four months, 4lb a day should be sufficient.
Young pigs need a diet high in amino acids which help then to grow in a balanced manner with more muscle tissue, so there should be more lysine in feed for younger pigs than older ones.
After three months, young pigs could be put into adult food that will have lower levels of protein.
Foods with too much lysine can be of a disadvantage to growth in heavier female pigs.
Aside from concentrates (that’s the feed you buy), you can offer your pigs other foodstuffs like grass, fruit, vegetable and other human food they eat (please, be sure they eat certain food before you`ll give them. This in important, so as not to hold back their growth… especially when they are still very young)
Diseases of pigs and the solution.
Another thing that is worth of much attention from you is the diseases of pigs and how you can solve them (prevention and cure).
Animals get sick too, just as humans. The difference is that, knowing if your pig is sick or not may be quiet tricky. Except you pay good attention to your pigs, you may not have any idea on when they are getting sick.
Since every sickness starts with symptom, you will be wise to have an experience person near you… such as a veterinary doctor.
You should be able to contact the experts at any time and say, “my pigs are looking this way”, “my pigs are not eating”, “my pigs` skin is too reddish” etc.
Apart from sickness, you will need the service of a veterinary to give appropriate vaccine whenever necessary.
Below are some of the diseases piglets, hog and pigs may encounter:
- Abscesses:this is the pockets of pus that contain large numbers of bacteria which enter the body through damage to the skin.
- The Bacterium Actinobacillus Pleuropneumoniae (APP). Never mind if your teeth cannot pronounce any of these terms very well, your veterinary doctor understand better.
- Mulberry Heart Disease (vitamin E deficiency). Though vitamin E is widespread in feed stuffs including vegetable oil, cereals and green plants, the usual problem with Mulberry Heart Disease occurs when farmers use some polyunsaturated fats diets which destroys the vitamins. Vitamin E is very important for optimum function and metabolism of the nervous, muscular, circulatory and immune system.
The truth is, there are tens and more diseases that can attack the herd (a group of pigs) or individual pig and you as a Kenyan pig farmer have to be prepared.
Mycotoxicosis, Agalactia, Navel Bleeding, Endometritis, Retroviruses, Erysipelas, Anaemia, Anthrax, Arthritis (joint infections), Oedema Disease, Atrophic Rhinitis (AR), Osteoporosis, Biotin Deficiency, Penis Bleeding, Brucellosis, Cystic Ovaries, Rabies, Peritonitis, Botulism, Pale pig syndrome, Blue Eye Disease, and probably 100 more.
It’s none of my intention to bother you with all these jargons. I never intend to scare you away from pig farming either.
The fact is that most of the diseases above may just be what we should have called “headache” or “stomachache” in a human setting.
Don`t be wary of their big names. Your veterinary doctor (or even an experienced pig farmer) will not see them as a threat. In just some few months and years you will get conversant with most of those grammars (if it’s even necessary).
All you will have to master is how to discover their symptoms. That is an important thing in pig farming.
Just a phone call to a friend (or veterinary doctor) can cure them. Your friend may just have to tell you to “use this antibiotic for them”.
I nearly forget this.
As a pig farmer in Kenya or anywhere else, you may have to have a little, special pen for the sick pigs or piglets.
I`m sure you know why… some diseases are capable of being transmitted from one pig to the other.
The best way you can start a pig farming business in Kenya.
So what is the best way to start a pig farming business in Kenya?
Just as most things, walking slowly is the best policy on the road you`re not too familiar with. If you`ve never rear pigs before, be sure there are many things you don`t know about them and their way of life, their sicknesses and their growth rate.
“Start small” maybe the best advice I need to give you… especially when you don`t know anything about pig farming and you don`t have a partner who do.
Start small, and then grow steadily.
Terminologies you may want to know in pig farming
You may need to get used to some basic terminologies of pigs and pig farming, since you`re new in this business, you may soon be near some people who have been in this business for a long time. They may not be knowledgeable about your newness in this business.
Below are some basic terminologies which I think you should be aware of:
- Piglet or Shoat: unweaned young pig
- Boar or hog: male pig of breeding age
- Barrow: castrated male pig before puberty
- Stag: male pig, castrated later in life
- Gilt: young female not yet mated, or not yet farrowed
- Pig, hog or swine: the species as a whole
- Sow: breeding female
- Pork: the meat of the pig
- Herd: a group of pigs or all the pigs on a farm
- Farrowing: when pigs are giving birth
- Sty: a small pig-house
- Pig-shed: a larger pig-house
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