Pig farming (also known as Swine production) is aspect of animal husbandry that deals with the raising, feeding, breeding and disease control in pigs. It is one of the lucrative businesses in Nigeria; in that you can get up 250 new piglets in a year even with a small herd. That’s a lot of money if you can grow them to the market size and sell them off. The agro-products in pig farming are live pigs, principally raised for food (pork, bacon, gammon) and sometimes for their skin.
In a typical pig herd, mature male pigs are called boar while mature female pigs known as sows. Young pigs are called piglet or Farrow. Piglets are young pigs that are still suckling from their mothers and they are between the ages of 1day to 8weeks. After 2months they are weaned. Weaners are pigs between the ages of 8weeks to 16weeks, just separated from their mothers. Growers are young male (finisher) or female (gilt) pigs between the ages of 3months to 6months.
Okay, no more preamble! Let’s look at how to start pig (Piggery) farming in Nigeria but before then we have some popular breeds of pig you can consider rearing in Nigeria.
Some Popular Breeds of Pig to Rear
There are so many breeds of pigs you can rear. Some are generally known to grow bigger, faster and large than other breeds, under the same feeding and environmental conditions. The popular breeds of pig in Nigeria are the local breeds and foreign breeds which include:
- Large white pig
- American Yorkshire
- Hereford pig
- Berkshire pig
- Tamworth pig
- Mulefoot pig
- And others
The wagon appears to be lengthier from its face to its tail while the large white appears to have more height and overall, it is large.
Steps to Start Pig Farming in Nigeria
Consider if pig farming is meant for you
The first step towards starting pig farming in Nigeria is to consider if pig farming is meant for you. It isn’t everybody that has the skills and ability to take care of animals (especially animal like pigs that smell offensively and always dirty). Pig farming like other livestock farming requires proper handling, monitoring and management. If you’re the type of person that have such skills and you’re ready to look after animals, then pig farming is meant for you. It is always good to be sure that you can do the business before starting.
Get a location
The next step is to get suitable location for breeding and rearing your pigs. Pig farm is better located in a place that is far from peoples’ home, better still, be located at a place that is used for pig farming by many other farmers. I will suggest you don’t try to rear pigs at your home. Pigs are smelly and they generate noise. So, you will be sure to receive a lot of complaints and protest from your neighbor. It is important that you know that a good location of pig farm will aids its management.
So instead of causing great discomfort to people around you, look for good farmland for your piggery business. One plot of land would be enough for a small scale piggery but if you’re starting a large scale pig farming business, ¼ Hectares of land will be enough for spacing, grazing and feeding the pigs.
Construct a standard Pens
Constructing a standard Pens for your pigs is the next step in starting pig farming. Pig is better reared in intensive system of agriculture, inside closed pens constructed with wooden plants or concrete walls. The floor should be cemented with a proper drainage system for pigs where all the wastes can pass through. Many weaned piglets can be kept together in one room to grow together. A pregnant pig must be kept alone in one room until it gives birth so that it can fed well and to avoid death, which can result from another pig hitting its head on her stomach during fight, and again, to avoid another pig eating her piglets when she gives birth.
The pig pens or house also need to have a water pool constructed on the floor of each room where the pigs drink water and cool their bodies too. The water in the pool should be changed regularly and kept clean at all times. When a Sow gives birth to piglet, the amount of water poured for it in the water pool should be small to avoid the piglets from drowning in the water or getting pneumonia. Pig pen must be kept clean at all times. You can also allow the pigs to come out of the pen and play out-doors sometimes but you need to guide them closely, so that they don’t wander off.
Buy healthy piglets or matured pig
Buying a healthy piglets or matured pig is another important step to take when starting pig farming. It advisable to choose wisely, the breed of pig you want to put in your pig farm. As a pig farmer, you can breed more than one type of pig breed. You can buy those breed of pigs that are known to grow bigger, faster, large and healthier than others. For example, large white breed grow taller and larger than other breeds of pig, so you can go for this kind of breed.
You can also seek the help of an experienced pig farmer in choosing high performing breeds of pig within your location. You’ll definitely get to know the best healthy breeds of pigs from them. Ensure that the piglets you buy are healthy and have been taken care of. You should also ask for their vaccination history record to be sure that they have taken their vaccinations up to date. You will need both male and female pigs. The number of piglets you’ll buy would depend on the size of your pen because pigs deliver in multiples. If you’re starting on low scale, you can just buy one male and one female matured pig or as many as 50 piglets if you’re going for large scale pig farming.
Once, you’ve bought healthy piglets or a matured pig, the next thing is to buy their feed. Pigs are voracious feeders. They eat most foods human eat. They eat some vegetables, food wastes from one’s kitchen, yam peels, cassava peels, maize, rice shaft, spent grains and wastes. They also eat formulas such as P.K.C (Palm Kernel cake) and so on. you can buy these formula from factories that produce feed.
You can also buy soybean chaff feed which is rich in protein for newly weaned pigs. Soybean chaff feed is a good feed because it makes newly weaned pigs to grow very fast.
Hire farm workers
Hiring farm workers for your pig farm is the next step to take after you’ve bought the pig feed. Some of the major farm workers need include:
- Farmhand – A farm hand is person who is paid to perform certain jobs in the farm house. A farm hand can be hired if pigs reproduce and there are more to take care of. He or she is paid money (amount agreed on), monthly based on what he/she does in the farm house. The work of the farm hand include sweeping out the pig dung and packing them to be sold as manure, generally sweeping the inside and outside of the pig house, cutting grasses that grow outside the pen, pouring in fresh water into the pool and putting food for the pig to eat every day. The pig farmer can choose to employ someone who would be coming to put feed and water for them to eat every day and also to sweep out their dung. The farm hand is paid based on the number of rooms he/she sweeps monthly. Normally, sweeping one room is N500 monthly, then N500 X No. of rooms in the farmer’s pig that the farm hand sweep every day.
- Health Assistant – To ensure that the pigs receive the best health care, it’s better to engage the services of a veterinary doctor or someone who has much experience about pig health and medication. He injects them to prevent certain diseases and also to enter heat, etc. Some types of injections makes the pigs grow faster and bigger, to enter heat, prevent disease, to cure diseases etc. Pigs are generally vaccinated against many diseases such as pneumonia with enzootic vaccine, piglet dysentery with clostridia vaccine, piglet diarrheas, etc. The veterinary doctor administers these vaccines in their right dosages to prevent disease outbreak in the piggery.
Castrate the Boar
Male piglets should be castrated to prevent their from boar taint. Castration will also make them more manageable when they become sexually mature. The castration of the male piglets is usually done in the first two weeks of piglets’ life. Before castration, you need to ensure that the piglets are fit and healthy otherwise it is better to postpone the operation. You will need the assistance of health assistance for this. The assistance will carry out the small operation while you hold the piglet. The pen should be dry and very clean during the operation to prevent the animal from contacting wound infection.
Keep Farm Record
Keeping farm record is another important step in starting a profitable pig farming business. A good pig farm record will keep you abreast of all the activities going on your pig farm.
The contacts of customers are kept in the farm record. Activities in the pig farm such as transactions and expenditures made on purchasing pig feed, vaccines, wages paid to farm hand, etc can be recorded on your pig farm record. It is also good to record the dates that the piglets are born so as to know when they would become two months and two weeks so as to be weaned.
Normally, it takes seven months and above for pigs to start reproducing; this should be noted down on your farm record
Market your pigs
Finally, you need to market your pigs. Pig farming has a readily market segment for live pigs. This market segment who buys the live pigs includes butchers, port-sellers and wholesalers who buy in bulk to resell to retailers or buy to rear them.
In pig farming business, pig farmers rarely compete with one another when selling their pig. This is because some buyers may want to buy only piglets or growers and not the mature pigs and a farmer may want to sell his/her pigs only when they are fully matured. Moreover, a wholesaler can come to a site where there are many pig farmers and buy hundreds of pigs for export or other purposes.
Again, if a farmer wants to sell off some of his/her pigs and there are no ready buyers that he knows, other pig farmers would contact buyers for him. Pig farmers most times, complement one another rather than compete with each other.
Cost of Starting Pig Farming in Nigeria
The amount of money required in starting a pig farm will depend on the size of the pig farm and your location. But with a rough estimate of three hundred and ninety five thousand naira (N395000), you can start a small pig farm.
The Cost analysis is as follows:
- Cost of purchasing 10 Piglets (male and female) – – ———N9000 X 5 =N 45000
- Construction of pig Pen with Pool, Waste and water drainage channel = N300000
- Working Capital = N50000
How Profitable is Pig farming business?
Pig farming is a profitable business. And it can spin much money but it requires investment, patience and nurturing before you can start to reap abundantly from it. A sow gestates for 4 months and can give birth to 6-15 or more piglets at a time. A sow can give birth 2 times in a year, possibly producing a total of 20 piglets for the farmer in a year. That’s huge money you’ll making in a year.
Pigs are somehow cheaper to breed and raise. They have low mortality rates and strong immune systems. Port meat has excess global demand than supply and live pigs sell at great prices.
NB: If a female pig that just gave birth is not fed well, it can eat its piglets.
If you have any question regarding Pig farming in Nigeria, feel free to ask using the comment box below.