The branch of agriculture known as “animal husbandry” concerns itself with the rearing of livestock for human use. Pigs are one of such animals that have been reared since time immemorial for their benefits—skin, gammon, bacon, and pork—to man. Thus, this article centres on the farming of pigs, mainly in a pig farm known as PIGGERY.
Many have postulated that the breeding of a pig is a more complex process than other kinds of livestock like goats, sheep, and so on. This is opined because pigs have greater sensitivity to the change in the climatic condition of the environment, and they usually require greater attention.
Nonetheless, on the advantageous side, female pigs, sows, can have about a dozen offspring in just over 4 months of pregnancy. What more, the offspring are usually ready to be sold faster than that of other reared animals.
While striking a balance between the pros and cons of pig farming, below are some important points to take note of when venturing into the world of pig rearing:
- Pigs have quite some species in existence. It is wiser and safer to go with the local species since they are naturally acclimatized to the conditions of the area where the piggery will be. This careful decision is also prudent because such species will be effortlessly gotten in such a lived-in area, as opposed to importation from foreign places.
- Though pigs are bulky and relatively strong, they are animals that get fatigued easily from the strain of inadequate food and water. The pigs, when stressed this way, can have a decline in yield, and, in the worst-case scenario can lead to them dying.
- Timely feeding and vaccination are necessities to the growth and survival of piglets, at least, until they are ready to be taken off your hands and sold off.
- Improper or mediocre management of the piggery can cause a swarming in of diseases to which the pigs are very vulnerable. An example of such a pig disease is diarrhoea. This is usually the case with farms with large number of pigs in an inadequate space.
- Pay rapt attention to what you feed the pigs with. Nothing but the best pig feeds are acceptable. For strong and fine-looking pigs, feed containing about 18% of unrefined protein is what is preferable. Eggs are a good source of protein for them. It is not advisable to centre the feeding of pigs on human leftovers and excesses, even though pigs are omnivorous.
They should also be given food from plants like vegetables and corn; this is essential for their growth and development.
On the other hand, feeding of meat is not advisable, as it just increases its body’s chunk and reduces the growth level.
- The weight of food the pigs should consume daily is between 6 to 10 kilograms. This ensures their proper growth and development.
- Pigs need water, water, and water! This is an especially important need for rearing healthy pigs. Hence, the farmer must have an adequate, clean supply of water available. It is a fact that piglets can consume about 10 litres daily, while adult pigs can drink up to 50 litres daily. Hence, the necessity of adequate, freshwater when running a pig farm cannot be overemphasized.
- The adequate shade should be provided for pigs even when they are awake and about, because their body type makes them vulnerable to terrible burns from the rays of the sun.
- Sufficient sawdust or straws are necessary to create a good and proper sleeping area for them.
- The farmer should begin the piggery with the breeding of piglets, as this helps him or her gain adequate management expertise. When the farmer can expertly grow piglets and sell them off, rearing of pigs then become a walk in the park.
- The farmer must be prepared to always ask questions, learn, relearn, notice mistakes, and correct them.
It is also important to note the kinds of pig farming systems available. This is so that the intended farmer can weigh his or her options and decide on which to run.
Pig farming systems are discussed below:
- INTENSIVE (IN A BARN OR HUT): This is the type of pig farming that is run in an enclosed space, like in a hut or in a ban.
For such a system to run smoothly, the place should have a resistance to both dampness and heat as they can affect the health of the pigs. A structure made with concrete is very efficient for this.
Also, there should be a demarcation, in distance, between where the pigs sleep and where they feed, so that the feeding area can easily be made clean. A 3-metre width is sufficient to be used as the area to feed two pigs. Likewise, the area for sleeping can be half the area for feeding and should contain a bathing pool. With those criteria met for the intensive system of piggery, this livestock farming becomes a piece of cake.
- FREE-RANGE (AT A PASTURE):
In this system, pigs are free to roam around, but to an extent.
The necessity for running such a system is the availability of a fenced area having enough grass and soil. Fencing is needed for such an area so that the pigs do not wander too far away and get lost or stolen.
More so, the fence constructed should be one that cannot be damaged by a strong adult pig.
This is also a system of piggery that is easy to run when there is a necessary structure in place.
In conclusion, the rearing of pigs for commercial purposes can be a very lucrative business, as this livestock are beneficial for their pork meat and coarse hair for brushes. More so, as already noted, they breed many offspring at a time, and are highly valuable in the food market. In Europe, pigs are even used to sniff out truffles—a valuable, edible fungus. Even if the pigs are just desired as pets, they are relatively easy animals to rear, for all that it is worth.
What more? Pig farming is not too expensive to start up.
Why don’t you give it a thought today?