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Thursday, January 19, 2017

GOOD PIGS ARE MADE, AND IT’S ALL ABOUT FEEDS AND HOUSING

Peris Wangari, the farm manager at Kongoni Farm in Isinya, Kajiado County. The farm sells at least 50 pigs every month at an average of Sh14,000 a head to Farmer’s Choice, the biggest processor of pig products in Kenya. PHOTO | LEOPOLD OBI  

By FELIX OPINYA
Pig rearing remains a lucrative venture with promising future. Apart from pork, pigs are also kept for bacon. The products fetch significantly higher prices in the market compared to the commonly consumed beef.
However, the quality of the products is still an issue to re-visit; calling for a number of production factors to be enhanced.
It all begins with breeds. Common pig breeds that do well are Large White and the Land Race. In detailed selection, go for gilts that are healthy, have strong legs with the body and thigh muscles well-developed.
Such kinds of breeds are likely to have higher feed conversion efficiency, high growth rate to market weight and attract premium price.
HOUSING
Pigs are best managed when housed.
Most importantly related to end-result products. Housing of pigs protects them from harsh environmental conditions and diseases like African swine fever. Pigs frequently suffering from diseases are most likely to give poor quality products.
HYGENE MANAGEMENT
Pigs are generally dirty animals? No. Pigs, like at Egerton University, are well-trained to dung in the dunging area. Taking into account a good drainage system will also save you the mess.
Poor sanitation offers good conditions for bacterial multiplication that lead to different illnesses.
DISEASES AND PAPASITE CONTROL
Parasites are a menace to pigs. They contribute to slow growth rate, therefore, pigs cannot attain market weight corresponding to their weights.
Internal parasites like worms for example, compete with the pigs for nutrients. These can be eliminated through deworming to let the pigs get the best out of what you feed. In case of disease outbreaks, seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
Strictly observe the withdrawal period in case of any treatments. Products with residues are likely to face quality tests if bought by commercial processors dealing with pig products.
FEEDING
A good feeding regime should provide the nutritional needs of pigs depending on age, weight and stage of production.
Commercial pig meals are very expensive but really contribute to faster growth rate as well as provide them with balanced nutrients.
In an effort to minimise cost with least disturbance on availability of nutrients, ingredients can be sort in the now expanding market to formulate your meals at home. They include maize bran, cotton-seed and pre-mixed vitamins.
Alternatively, feed them on cheaply available stuff classed in energy sources like maize, cassava, sweet potato roots and vines; protein sources like milk and milk by products and minerals, vitamins and water. Avoid feeding pigs directly on leftovers.
Lastly, records will help you do the decision making and make adjustments where necessary.
Proper records should be able to monitor the growth of weaners as well as help achieve feeding and market efficiency.
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Opinya is based at Animal Sciences Department,Egerton University.
SOURCE: NMG

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