Pig farming is a very lucrative agricultural business in Nigeria but sadly, only a few Nigerians know about this trade. The initial investment required to start a pig farm is small compared to the huge profit you will enjoy later, their housing and equipment require little investment to start although this depends the majorly on the system of rearing you want to engage in. It has a short gestation period of 114 days that is three months, three weeks and three days, they mature very early.
A piglet takes only 6-9months to get to the market size of 60-90kg. This is a liquid asset as they don’t take up to one year before being sold off. They are non-ruminant animals and belong to the family of sudae. Pigs are mainly of two species “sus sacrofa and sus vittatus.
BREEDS OF PIGS
LARGE WHITE, LARGE BLACK, DUROC JERSEY, TAMWORTH, WEST AFRICAN DWARF PIG, HAMPSHIRE, AMERICAN LANDRACE, CHESTER WHITE, BELGIUM PIE TRAIN. All these breeds can be grouped however into three main categories
A. Meat type B. Land type C. The Bacon type
COMMON TERMINOLOGIES USED FOR PIGS
Boar – A mature male pig.
Sow – A mature female pig.
Gilt – A female pig that is matured to reproduce or has reproduced once.
Piglet – The young or baby pig.
Weaners – Young pigs just separated from the mother.
Fatteners – Old pigs reared for the market.
Barrow – A castrated male pig.
Farrowing – The act of parturition in the pig.
In sow – Pregnant sow.
Dry sow – A sow that is not pregnant.
Pork – The meat of a pig.
Bacon – A salted pig meat.
Lard – Pig meat with fat.
see also fish farming
BENEFITS OF PIG FARMING IN NIGERIA
Source of food: Pig’s meat contains protein which is high in energy, attractive, nutritious, tasty and tender.
Source of Income: Pigs are reared mainly for meat, pig skin, bristle, and manure. Therefore apart from just seeing them as mainly meat producers, their skin and bristle are useful. They can be sold in exchange for money
Source of Employment: Farming, in general, can provide jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the country.
MANAGEMENT OF PIGS
Managing pigs from breeding to market size can be grouped into three phases, which are;
- Breeding to birth: Breeders are housed in a place made of a concrete floor, low wall and galvanized iron roofing sheets. The boar and gilt should be at least eight months before the breed and for the gilt she must have, at least, twelve well-spaced functional treats and good temperament and should not be obese. Two weeks before mating the female (gilt) are dewormed and sprayed with insecticide to remove internal and external parasites.
- Piglet to weaning: Just like most animals, when piglet is born, the mucus membrane are wiped from their nose in order to prevent them from suffocating. The naval is cut and dipped into iodine to prevent infection and heat provide to prevent them from getting cold.
- Weaning to Finishing: When the piglets are grown, they are transferred into the fattener’s house, where they are given quality feeds to grow into market size.
HOW TO START A PIG FARM
LAND: Get a well suitable for farming, this land should be far from residential areas because of the offensive smell that comes from pigs.
CHOOSE A REARING SYSTEM THAT BEST SUITS YOU: There are three system of rearing pigs they include;
- Extensive: The system allows the pigs to roam about freely in search of their own food and water. The advantage of this system is that it involves low capital. However, the disadvantages are that they can contact diseases easily and are exposed to adverse weather conditions.
- Semi-intensive: Here housing is provided, but the pigs are still allowed to go out from time to time to feed on natural vegetation. The system requires less capital investment but labor requirement.
- Intensive system: All pigs are kept within a confined building and are not allowed to move out. They are raised inside the pens on either iron or concrete slatted floor. Feed, water, and medication are supplied daily in adequate quantity and good sanitation is maintained. The system saves labor, provides a condition for good management standards and easy control of internal parasite.
Feeding: Feed is highly recommended when operating a semi-intensive or intensive system of rearing pigs. Feed cost represents 80% of the total cost of producing swine. Feeds should be given to all categories of pigs, balanced in nutrients to enhance rapid growth in the swine.
Housing: Pig houses should sheds which provide shelter against harsh weather condition as well as providing the proper hygienic conditions required to maintain healthy growth in the pigs. The house should be constructed along the direction of the wind but far from residential areas. Housing should have low walls made of bricks, stones or concrete cement, this is to allow the free flow of air.