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How to make a tidy profit from rearing two pigs on a small plot

BUSINESS
By Jennifer Anyango | Apr 24th 2021 | 3 min read
By Jennifer Anyango | April 24th 2021
BUSINESS

Elizabeth Munene and her mother Loise Munene feed her more than 600 pigs at her farm in Kavumbu area of Kirinyaga County. [Joseph Muchiri, Standard]

If you get it right, pig farming is a lucrative business. One pig farmer who mastered the art is George Gikonyo, a farmer in Limuru. For those interested, he says the first key thing is conducting thorough research.

“The pig business is complex but doable,” he says.

Gikonyo says pigs require adequate space, quiet environment and enough food. Considering that a pig requires space of at least 24 square metres, to raise two pregnant sows, one should consider constructing a pig shed measuring at least 20 metres by 24 metres.

Swine reproduce twice a year with their gestation period being only 114 days. Farmers in Kenya can buy their pigs from trusted sources like the Agricultural Development farm in Nakuru. After the gestation period, a pig is likely to sire about 10 piglets.

Here is Gikonyo’s guide on what is required to maintain a small pig farm.

Housing

To erect a stable, warm and spacious 30 metres by 45 metres pig shed, one requires at least Sh75,000 for timber which is retailing at Sh30 per square metre, 25 iron sheets measuring three metres and nails.

Other requirements include at least 15 wheelbarrows of ballast, 10 wheelbarrows of sand and five bags of cement. Sawdust is also good for bedding.

Select proper breed

Source for high-yielding sows. Large White, Landrace, Hampshire and Duroc are the four main pig breeds in Kenya. Gikonyo started with two.

“A month old pregnant Large White sow for instance goes for an average of Sh45,000 while a Duroc and Hampshire retails at Sh40,000,” says Gikonyo.

A sow gives birth of piglets twice a year.

Feeding

A pig consumes an average of three to four kilograms of feed per day. This means it consumes 120kg of feed every month. 70kg of rice bran costs about Sh500, therefore 120kg costs Sh900.

“For about nine months, a farmer will spend at least Sh16,000 on the two sows,” says Gikonyo.

Although the appropriate weaning time for piglets is six to eight weeks, Gikonyo says a farmer is supposed to start giving them solid food when they are three weeks old.

He advises that pigs should be fed on around 18 per cent of crude protein. Although pigs are omnivores, table scraps and wastes are not suitable as feeds.

“It is not a wise path to follow if we want to have healthy pigs. Pigs should be fed on plant materials such as lettuce, corn and other vegetables. Meat is not appropriate to feed them with, since it will increase their body fat and can decrease their growth and ultimately your profit,” he warns.

Provide your pigs with enough water

Water is important and many times a forgotten nutrient. A good supply of clean water is needed to maintain the pigs necessities. A growing young pig can drink to approximately 10 litres of fresh water per day while an adult pig can drink 25 to 50 litres per day.

Returns

When the piglets reach six months, they should be weighing at least 120kg. “When a farmer decides to slaughter them, then he is likely to get at least 2,600kg of pork,” says Gikonyo. With a kilo retailing at Sh400, one could fetch a tidy sum.

If a farmer decides to sell after three months, each is likely to get him at least Sh40,000.

Point to note

Inadequate management can lead to diseases within the pig farm. Pigs are susceptible to several diseases such as diarrhoea. They also susceptible to sunburn. Make sure to vaccinate and feed them properly until they are ready for the market.

Market

There is no specific pork market in Kenya, however, due to the popularity of pork products like ham, bacon, sausages, companies like Farmers Choice are buying from farmers.

Farmers Choice slaughters up to 400 pigs per day and pay farmers according to cold dressed weight after slaughter.

Jennifer Anyango

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