Pig farming is important in many parts of the world as it produces cheap tasty meat and other secondary products like pigskin, bristle, lard, bone and blood meals, and manure over a shorter period. Pork is processed into various forms such as ham, bacon and sausages. Pigs are hardy stock and are profitable to rear as they are prolific breeders and turn out good meat over a reasonable period. Pig production is a very good business venture which brings ready cash anytime and it is also convenient to every producer. It is good for every farmer to know the effective management of pig farming and how to produce pigs.
After obtaining the breeding stock from outside, the pig farmer selects gilts with desirable characteristics from his own growers. The breeding programme depends on the type of pigs to be produced and at what age.
To start a piggery (pig farm), the foundation stock should have the following qualities;
- A large number of pigs born per sow (should be about 8-10)
- Fewer dead or abnormal piglets born per litter
- Heavier pigs weaned per litter
- Piglets to grow into large and heavier pigs
- Better milk producer, if female
- Teats should be 12-14 well-shaped out and without blind nipples, in the case of gilts
- The boar should have two equally sized testicles which should be very pronounced
- The animal should be healthy; the skin soft and free from scales, and in the case of the boar, the sheath should be free of infection.
- The pig should be of a quite disposition and easy to manage, particularly in the case of sows when they fallow
- The pig should be of a good shape, well-muscled and should stand on sound feet especially when the sow is pregnant.
Care for the sow during pregnancy
Gilt matures at 5-6 months old but should not be mated until she is 7-8 months old. Breeding should start after third or fourth week. Heat occurs at three intervals and last for 2-3 days when services can take place. It is best to serve the sow twice within 12-24 hours to ensure successful pregnancy. The period of pregnancy takes 112-115 days i.e. 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days.
The pregnant sow should be dewormed two weeks before farrow to get rid of worms. The farrowing pen should be thoroughly, clean, washed, and scrubbed with boiling water and disinfectant.
Care of the baby pig (piglet)
- Give warmth to the young pig
- Let them suck the first milk i.e. colostrum to protect them against diseases
- Their milk teeth should be removed to prevent them from biting their mother’s teat.
The proper design and construction of swine facilities is very important in preventing diseases. Buildings should be placed on well drained sites. Drainage systems should be designed so that water and runoff from one group of swine does not reach another. There are many examples of disease problems where waste water or urine transmitted disease from one group to another.
Building materials should be selected for durability and ease of cleaning. Durability is important to prevent wear and damaged areas that harbor infectious agents. For example, a high quality concrete mix should be used to avoid corrosion by acids in manure. It should also withstand the gnawing habits of pigs.
Solids floors should be sloped for proper drainage and ease of cleaning. Floors that allow standing water invite filth and sanitation problems. Slotted or wire floors generally work well and offer a sanitary advantage by reducing manure accumulation. However, wood and concrete slats are sometimes difficult to clean and disinfect. Walls should be constructed of durable materials that are easy to clean. Solid partitions, particularly between farrowing crates, and individual hog houses help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Roofing material can be thatch, spilt bamboo, galvanized iron, asbestos sheets etc. each sty should be provided with separate trough along one of the sides for feed and water.
- Cereals and their by-products: maize, rice, millet, guinea corn and the bran from them as residues from distilleries
- Roots, tubers and their vines, peels and leftovers: cassava, sweet potato, yam, cocoyam and their peels and leftovers etc.
- Fruits: e.g. pawpaw (which is good as a dewormer), pumpkins, tomatoes, avocado pear
- Leaves and grasses: elephant grass, guinea grass Africa spinach (Amaranthus spp), banana, centrosema, pueraria
- Oil cakes and meal: these are obtained from oil palm fruits and kernel, coconut, and groundnut
- Fish and animal products: fish meal, meat scraps
Prevention and controlling diseases and pest
The best method of preventing disease is not to create favourable conditions for the germs to breed by adopting good sanitation measures all the time. This is by keeping the sty and pigs clean all the time. Provide fly-proof against insects like tsetse fly all the time. Adhere strictly to routine indication and vaccination at various stages of growth.