Introduction on how to start pig farming in Kenya, pig breeds in Kenya, and pig farming requirements: Pig production is defined as involves the raising and management of pigs for meat (pork). It is one of the lucrative livestock businesses in the world. It is a profitable business because the production cost is low compared to other major livestock farming businesses. It is the process of raising and breeding domestic pigs as livestock mainly for food. It is a branch of animal husbandry and it is popular agribusiness throughout the world.
Pigs are well adapted to different variety of climatic conditions, and they can be raised in different ways. They can mainly be raised in the intensive system, extensive system, or in commercial free-range systems. Pigs are popular livestock animals and are raised throughout the world. It’s an easy and profitable business. In Kenya, pig farming is a profitable business. The people who have started pig farming in Kenya are producing high-quality meat if they follow some essential tips for raising pigs and also making good profits. Pork and other type of pig products account for about 38% of meat products consumed worldwide. Kenya people have the opportunity to get into this in-demand product and make some profits in pig farming.
Pigs can be raised for providing food and nutrition to the family and total country or just for making high profits raised in small or large scale commercial ventures. The pig farming business is profitable in Kenya if you are prepared to handle the challenges that come with pig farming and grow pigs to reach the required market standards at minimal costs. Kenya has a favorable climate condition for pig farming. Getting food for pigs is very easy as they can feed on agricultural products, kitchen garbage, and roughage among so many other foods. You do not want a massive investment to start the business.
A guide on how to start pig farming in Kenya, pig breeds in Kenya, and pig farming requirements, pig farming tips and techniques
Pig farming is the fastest-growing livestock sector worldwide. Growth in the pig farming sector is mostly happening in developing and in-transition countries while animal numbers in developed countries are stable or declining slightly. Pig production in Kenya is gaining importance that is currently profitable production. In the local and international markets, there is a high demand for pig products. As such, the pig farming business is likely to give better returns as the marketable weight of the pig can be attained in the duration of 6 to 8 months. It is a profitable business and uses several tips to assist you in forecasting its profitability as a small scale pig farmer.
Benefits of pig farming in Kenya
Having complete knowledge of agribusiness is important before starting a pig farming business. There are no unique skills necessary to start a pig farming business. Pork has increased demand in Kenya has a favorable climate for pig farming. Getting food for pigs is very easy as they can feed on agricultural products, kitchen garbage, and roughage among so many other foods. You do not want a massive investment to start the business. Pigs give birth twice a year to almost 10 to 14 pigs and take care of that means you have 20 more animals than the already existing ones. Compared to other livestock animals, they grow very fast.
Based on the condition of Kenya, pig farming has several advantages. The advantages of the pig farming business in Kenya can be given below;
- Pigs grow faster compared to other livestock animals and the reproduction system takes less time.
- Pigs grow faster by converting more nutrients or energy into protein.
- By setting up small-scale pig farming in Kenya you can fulfil daily family nutrition demands.
- You can start raising a pig farming business with very little investment. As pigs grow fast, within a short time you can turn your farm into a commercial stage.
- Sow gives birth to piglets twice a year and each time they produce 10 piglets. And the gestation period is also less not more than 115 days.
- The geographical location and weather conditions of Kenya are mainly suitable for starting a pig farming business.
- Pig farming in Kenya mainly provides a high ROI (returns on investment) ratio. The observation means that you can start with little capital and within short time duration you will be smiling at the bank.
- The pig farming business has a great source of employment for unemployed people.
- Pigs have high feed conversion efficiency. This is important if you do not have a lot of animal feeds on your farm. Pigs gain more live weight from a given weight of feed compared to the other livestock.
- Pigs can consume different types of feeds like grains, forages, and non-meat kitchen leftovers and convert them into valuable nutritious meat.
- Usually, pigs are fertile with a shorter generation interval. A sow can be farrowed twice in a year and it can give birth to up to 12 piglets in each farrowing.
- The pig farming business is not capital intensive on buildings and tools. Though, pig’s manure can be utilized as fertilizer for agriculture farms. You can use pig manure to ward off rodents that can be attacking your crops. Use pig manure as a free source of fish food and it is very useful.
- Pig farming provides quicker returns than other livestock animals. Because this achieves its marketable weight in 6-8 months. Other livestock can require years to attain market maturity.
- Food source – Pig meat is made up of excessively energetic, attractive, nutritious, tasty, and tender proteins.
- Source of income – Pigs are raised for meat, pig pores and skin, bristles, and manure. So, in addition to considering them simply as meat producers, their pores, skin, and bristles are useful.
- Source of employment – Generally, agriculture can employ the many unemployed youths in the country.
To meet the daily nutritional demands of people, you can decide to set up small-scale pig farming in Kenya.
Main breeds of pigs in Kenya
Large White, Hampshire, Landrace, and Duroc are the main pig breeds in Kenya. Pig performance mainly depends on their genetic merit and the environment they are raised in. Here are some common breeds that are available in Kenya.
You have various colored pigs roaming around in the village shopping center and struggled to find the specific pig breed. This can be difficult because the stray pigs may have been bred over the years with other several breeding meaning most of the roaming pigs are crossbreeds. Though, for confined pigs, it is easier to identify the breed due to its characteristics and color. Some of the common pig breeds in Kenya include;
This breed is the first choice of pig farmers in Kenya and this is because of its unique features and characteristics. Usually, their head is moderately long. They have erect ears and their face is slightly dished and they usually have longer legs compared to other breeds. Its robust body can withstand different climatic conditions and performs well. The large white breed sows are known to produce between 10 to 12 piglets.
The large white pig breed is robust, adaptable, and of higher performance. They do well in intensive production systems. Because of its wide availability, most pig farmers prefer this breed. These are long-bodied and fine white color hair free from black hair. They tend to be longer in the leg than our other breeds and have long deep sides.
It performs well under either indoor or outdoor systems of management. Its excellently fleshed carcass is ideal for fresh pork or bacon production. As well these are known for their length of the body. These are prolific breeders that can produce up to 10 to 15 piglets in one farrowing. Landrace pig has white skin also free from black hair. They have a long middle and excellent ham growth.
Duroc – (Duroc-Jersey)
Duroc is also referred to as the “Red Hogs”. It is an older breed of domestic American hog and it can survive in extremely cold and wet conditions. These are some of the sweetest hogs in the world. The Duroc pig is an older pig breed of domestic pig and farmers breed these pigs mainly for their meat. Their unique red color and other characteristics make this breed can easily identifiable. The thick coat and hard skin have a solid reddish color changing from gold to a deep, brick red.
This pig breed has hard skin and thick fur that is reddish. Also, they produce very good bacon. Its forequarters are light and it has small lopped ears. It can survive in extreme cold and wet climate conditions making them preferable if you live in a high-altitude region. Pigmentation also makes it an ideal outdoor pig as it is not vulnerable to sunburns. Its downside is that they produce less litter size than the other pig breeds meaning the growth of your herd will be slower.
Hampshire breed used for all-purpose, the breed having the leanest meat is used extensively as the sire of cross-bred pigs for pork. The Hampshire pig breed is famous for its good quality and high-quality meat production. It is well muscled and is black and white. They are large, hardy breeds with black and white color markings. Their head, ears, and shoulders are black, as are their rear legs and tail. They have large upright ears.
Other pig breeds in Kenya are;
Other pig breeds available in Kenya are the Pietrain and saddleback. The Pietrain Pig breed was native to the village of Piétrain in Wallonia, Belgium. This breed is famous for its high yield of lean meat. Though, the saddleback pig breed was the precursor to the Large White breed and passing on its characteristics and performance.
Suitable land for pig farming Kenya
Choosing suitable land is important for starting pig farming in Kenya. It requires some facilities like ensure proper growth, good health, proper marketing, and maximum profit from the pig farming business.
Find the area and size of farmland according to the number of pigs on your farm. Consider the followings tips for select land for pig farming in Kenya;
- Try to choose a calm and quiet place far from the residential areas.
- Ensure a sufficient supply of fresh water in the farm area is important. A water source like a lake, pond, and river, etc., will be effective.
- The selected location will be very near to the market. So that you can easily sell products and buy necessary things from the market.
- Availability of veterinary service near your farmland is important.
- The good transportation system.
- Low-cost feeding elements help to reduce food costs for pigs.
- Try to choose land in village areas. Because, you can easily find cheap labor, feeding elements, and lands in village areas.
Requirements for pig farming in Kenya
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Some important factors to be considered before getting into the pig farming business in Kenya;
Pigs need adequate space, a quiet environment, and enough food. Pig requires a space of at least 24 square meters to raise 2 pregnant sows, consider constructing a shed measuring at least 20 meters by 24 meters. This is a gestation period of 3 months; each pig is likely to sire at least 10 piglets. There are some factors considered before starting a successful pig farming business, include;
Housing requirement for pig farming in Kenya – You are going to require a strong built-in structure to house your raising pigs. The pig house must be divided into pens of various sizes that depending on the growth stage of the pigs. Any overcrowding in the pig pens will result in losses due to fast-spreading diseases like diarrhoea. The sty should be easy to clean to maintain hygiene at all times.Pig housing structures in Kenya have been specified upon the construction to help an average farmer apply the standard rule for effective results. Quality structures enhance animal productivity.
Pig farms should be located away from residential places. The best idea is to avoid wind from flowing in the direction of residential houses. Also, farmers are advised to separate pigs from other animals. Every incoming vehicle must go through the disinfection dip normally located at the entrance to help in disease control.
Breeding – You can get into the pig farming business by starting a breeding farm. Though, if you are a new farmer, you should first start by rearing small pigs to help you learn about the desirable pig traits and the nitty gritties of pig breeding.
Pigs are naturally very good breeders and they will breed easily if you keep a good ratio of sows and boars. Pigs reach breeding age faster. Boars and sows become more suitable for breeding within their 8 months of age. The heat period of a sow lasts about 2 to 3 days. But the first day during the heat period of gilt is the best time to breed, and the second day is the best day for a sow. Lactating sow ready for breeding again 2 to 10 days after weaning her piglets. The gestation period of pigs is not more than 115 days and it’s usually 3 months 3 weeks to 3 days. Normally, a sow can give birth to piglets twice a year, with about 8 to 12 piglets per litter.
Availability of Water for raising pigs – Water availability is a factor that comes first. Pigs consume 10 to 50 liters of water in a day. You should ensure that there are enough water supplies that will serve your herd. Water is necessary to maintain sty hygiene to prevent the spread of any diseases.
Feeding requirement for pig farming in Kenya
Pigs are omnivores therefore you can mix their feeds with a range of other ingredients to produce a balanced diet. The feeds availability influences the profit margins to achieve in the starting of pig farming business. Feeding is of utmost importance to ensure that pigs gain weight accordingly. Swine will eat different foods ranging from meat, grains, kitchen waste, cooked table scraps, as well as vegetables. Ensure the feeds are abundant in proteins and vitamins among other supplements to ensure they grow faster.
A pig’s nutritional needs will change with age, weight, and stage of production. There are three types of feeds are available with differing protein content. The pig eats two or three kilos a day and the feeds include all the pig’s nutritional requirements. Diet must include maize bran, cassava, fish meal, cottonseed cake, and vitamins. A farmer keeps in mind that the digestibility of feeds is a factor. So, a farmer should either cook or chop it up to ensure it’s digestible.
Many people who start pig rearing in Kenya supplement their feeds for better growth results. It is done through purchasing commercial food and then mixing it with feds that are gotten domestically. Having quality and nutritious food will guarantee the high productivity of animals. Pigs farming in Kenya are a profitable business and they can feed on anything and you don’t need so much money. Also, the animals love maize hence you can talk to owners of institutions to give you some in case they have more than enough. Adding some meat and soybeans to their food is a good source of proteins for your pigs. Incorporating vitamins and other necessary supplements will aid in the first growth of your pigs. You don’t need a manual on how to feed pigs.
Care for new piglets
Newborn piglets are fragile and vulnerable to many risks. It is important to take good care of them to ensure the survival of the whole litter. For every farmer, caring for newborn piglets is a huge challenge. A few minutes after birth, the navel of each piglet must be dabbed with an iodine solution to prevent tetanus and inflammation.
You must ensure that the piglets can suckle as possible after birth. The weaker pigs should be assisted if necessary and suckling encourages the sow to let her milk down. If the sow’s milk appears to be little, you can add cow’s milk to supplement.
Provide your pigs with enough water – Water is important for pig growth. A large clean water supply will be needed to maintain the pig’s necessities. For example, a growing young pig can drink approximately 10 liters of freshwater per day while an adult pig can drink 25 to 50 liters per day.
Feeding program for piglets – Two days after birth, you must feed the piglets 5 times each day for 10 minutes. On the 3rd and 4th day, you must reduce the number of times you feed the piglets to 4 times a day, and after that 3 times a day. Increase the amount of milk at each meal while slowly decreasing the number of meals per day after 2 weeks. Shift to more solid food slowly and the piglets must be able to take regular feed when they attain the age of 3 weeks.
Tips for starting pig farming in Kenya
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Firstly, identify a clean environment for setting up a shelter for your pigs. The area selected must be free from pollution to be a successful pig farmer.
The location should make it easy to practice waste management since it can be dangerous to the piglets. House design for pigs with lamps so they can provide heat during cold spells and light at night. Clean the house the pig regularly to make it viable for farming pigs.
Determine the size of your pig farming business
The best advice for someone who has no experience in pig farming would be to start a small business. Should a loss occur, it must not completely set you back. Keeping a big number of pigs in a small location will contribute to the faster spreading of diseases and higher death rates.
Swine are kept in piggeries. Construction of the piggery will mainly depend on the number of pigs to be kept by the farmer; a large, spacious pen is suitable for a large number of pigs and vice-versa. For good profit, a farmer must keep not less than 10 pigs.
Nutritional requirements for Pigs
- Good nutrition is very important to a pig’s health, growth rate, success in its reproduction, and longevity. Unless you are keeping pigs as ‘pets’ then nutrition is a key factor to ensure a return on your investments when selling your pigs or pork.
- Energy intake is the first determining factor determining the pig growth and the amount of milk produced by lactating cows. Protein is the 2nd determining factor for the growth of your herd or the amount of milk production in lactating sows. You could need to limit the daily feed intake to avoid excess weight gain as age.
- You must feed a balanced diet to your growing pigs from the weaning stage through to the point of slaughter to ensure that pigs grow rapidly. A balanced diet helps to ensure that the meat composition and quality are mainly for the export market.
- Minerals and vitamins in a balanced feed will contribute to ensuring that your animals stay strong and healthy throughout their growing stage. Any sudden changes in the diet like too much fat and then excessive undiluted milk can cause diarrhoea.
- Pigs need an ample supply of freshwater, fats, carbohydrates, protein, and other vitamins and minerals. Nutrients can be supplied by common commercial feeds, but some vitamins and minerals are necessary to be added to ensure complete health.
- The nutritional requirements are simplified and described as a requirement for energy and protein.
Health and disease prevention for pig farming
- Pig farming depends on the well-being of the swine. Farmed pigs tend to be a more profitable business when all the animals are healthy.
- Pigs will mostly eat more fresh clean feed than feed that is contaminated, stale, or moldy. Sufficient feeder space is essential so that each pig can eat what it wishes every day.
- Pigs need to be fed based on their sizes and ages.
- Consulting a professional vet for diagnosis in case you notice some weird symptoms like low appetite, diarrhea, excessive coughing, hernia, dry skin and irregular spots on the skin surface, and backbone showing, etc.
- Pigs are sturdy animals but they are affected by stress coming, for instance, lack of food or water.
- Inadequate management can lead to diseases within the pig farm. Pigs are susceptible to several diseases like diarrhea in intensive farming systems where crowding can be a problem. Make sure that you vaccinate and feed them properly or carefully until they are ready for the market. Also, it is crucial to keep their housing area clean and free of moisture and manure.
- Pigs are affected by worm infections, especially if they are not rotated through different pastures. Many worm species leave eggs and rotating to a new pasture mainly helps to disrupt, the worms’ life cycles. Use a commercial dewormer and feed pig’s fresh garlic to help eliminate the infection if pigs do get worms.
Marketing plan for pigs
Pig products have huge demand in the market. Pig products are popular throughout the whole of Kenya. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about marketing your products if you want to start a pig farming business. Sell your pigs in the nearest local market when they gain marketing weight.
For starting a pig farming business, you must have a marketing plan. Based on your farm size, you can plan for selling mature pigs at good prices. Also, you can contact the local restaurants and hotels that have large requirements throughout the year.
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