Pig feed formulation
Feed formulation is not easy especially for small-scale farmers due to lack of raw materials and the technical knowledge on how to prepare their own feeds. For farmers keeping a few pigs, we would advise that they buy feeds from reputable companies who are known to make quality feeds. However, such farmers can reduce their feed costs considerably if they can formulate supplementary feeds like sweet potato vines.
However, for farmers who want to keep many pigs, say, between 500 to 1000 pigs, it makes economic sense to make their own feeds as long as they can get the right raw materials for feed formulation. Below, we give farmers a method they can use to make pig feed in order to reduce their feed costs:
Feed formula 1: Making silage from sweet potato vines
Sweet potato vines are very nutritious pig feed if well prepared and preserved. Here is how to prepare them:
- Cut 60-100kg of sweet potato vines and spread them dry in the sun for about 30 minutes.
- Chop the vines into tiny pieces and mix them with 10 kg of maize germ or pig growers mash.
- Sprinkle ½ kg of mineral salt and mix thoroughly.
- Put the mixture into an airtight 250-litre plastic tank. Compress the vines firmly to remove any air spaces as you do when preparing silage.
- Add some little EM1 solution to improve the quality of the silage.
- Cover the tank airtight. Let it stay for 14 days (two weeks).
- Open the tank to check if the silage is ready- if the silage has a sweet smell and has turned yellow in colour, then it is ready feeding.
- You can feed the sweet potato silage to pigs from four months of age, sows, gilts and boars at any time before or after feeding their usual daily rations.
Pig farmers who incorporate sweet potato silage into the pig diet can cut their feed costs by up to 30 per cent. In addition, the sweet potato tubers can be eaten or sold in the market, a kilogramme of sweet potato tuber retails for between KSh 60 to KSh 80.
Other supplementary feeds suitable for pigs include sukumawiki (kales), vegetables, cabbages, lucerne, amaranth (terere), avocadoes, pawpaws or even bananas. Hotel leftovers (also called sweal) can be given to pigs but farmers must be very careful because food leftovers may be contaminated; the food can be reboiled (cooked again) to ensure all disease-causing organisms are destroyed before the leftover are given to pigs.