Pig Farming for Beginners:
The following content details about starting a Pig Farming.
Introduction to Pig Farming
There is a big misconception or reputation that pigs are dirty animals. Fact is pigs are actually quite clean animals. Pigs growing in tropical and sub-tropical regions tend to roll in mud to cool off body temperature giving them the reputation as filthy animals while pigs growing in cool environments stay clean. A male pig is called as boar and a female pig as sow. Pigs have large head with a long snout with a strong prenasal bone, leathery snout and have four hoofed toes on each foot. Two large central toes bear most of the body weight and the two outer hooves used in soft ground. They are found and raised throughout the world. Pigs in wild feed primarily on leaves, fruits, flowers, grass, roots, rodents and small reptiles. Whereas farm growing pigs are fed concentrate diets and different feed ingredients.
Farmers raise pigs commercially for various reasons. Pigs provide pork, lard, leather, glue, manure and a variety of medicines. They give birth to about six to 12 piglets and nurse them for about three to five weeks. Piglets weigh 1000 to 1300 grams at birth and double their weight in a week. Depending on breed an adult pig can weigh about 110 to 250 kilograms.
Life Span: 12 to 26 years.
How to Start Pig Farming in India
Pigs are smartest of all domesticated animals and are even smarter than dogs. Being smart they tend to be sensitive animals and need a higher level of management. Pigs have good liter rate and feed to meat conversion ratio if far better than other livestock animals and thus giving a better financial returns.
There are two ways to start pig farming.
Confinement Pig Farming
In this type of farming the pigs are kept in a closed enclosure system with high density. Farmer has to invest for permanent structures, equipment’s and other things. Pigs growing in this type need constant attention and farmer has to spend more time to achieve good profits. Because of confinement constant risk of disease is high and incurs medical expenses towards vaccinations and treating infected animals. Because of no access to food outside they must be fed with proper diet. Farmer has to ensure timely and proper disposal of manure and keep the farm clean if neglected will lead to bad odors, flies and thereby leading to diseases, air and water pollution.
Free range or Outdoor Pig Farming
In free-range farming, pigs roam freely in open farm feeding on plants, roots, grass giving farmer a low investment. There will be not much work in cleaning, no disposal of manure and slurry problems. Compared to confinement pig farming there may be less labor costs. Managing and controlling pigs is a difficult task. Individual care, health care, checking for unproductive sows and boars is hard to manage. Scope of predators attacking on young pigs is high and prone to injuries. Considerably costs will come down because of less feed and other costs.
Productive Pig Breeds
This breed is native to British; it is exotic breed most farmers prefer in India. The pig is solid white in color with erect ears, dished face and snout of medium length. This breed is excellent for cross breeding and with a high litter rate. The weight of mature boar can be 300 to 400 kilograms while female mature sow can be 230 to 320 kilogram.
This is an exotic breed white in color with black skin spot. The animal has long body, large drooping ears, and with a long snout. The breed is good in litter rate and carcass quality equal to Yorkshire breed. It is an excellent breed for crossbreeding. The mature boar weighs around 270 to 360 kilograms and female mature sow weighs around 200 to 320 kilograms.
This breed is popular because of high production of offspring and ability to sustain in low input system. This breed produces high quality meat by utilizing agricultural byproducts and kitchen waste. The animal is mostly black in color with bull dog face appearance. Both boar and sow are submissive and easy to handle. The litter size can be from 6 to 12 piglets weighing around one kilogram at birth to eight to ten kilogram at weaning.
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These breed animals are red in color with good muscular body shape. The ears are drooping with a highest growth rate out of all the other breeds. A mature boar can weigh around 300 kilogram while mature sow can weigh around 250 kilogram.
Hampshire, HSX1, Tamworth, Indigenous type.
Housing in in Pig Farming
To run successful pig farming, housing and equipment’s are very important. The pig farm housing must be at an elevated place to prevent from flooding in rainy season. Housing under trees is beneficial as it provides shade and coolness with fresh air. Housing of pigs must be relatively far from human residence about eight to ten metres. Ensure housing must have all types of necessary facilities such as water trough, feeding trough etc. Housing must be done separately for boar, farrowing, weaner and dry sow. Housing must have adequate space to walk, with plenty ventilation and drinking water; this will keep pigs safe from weather, parasites and diseases. The roof of the house must be water proof to protect from rains and with a raised floor about one to two feet above the ground. The house must be strongly built and if its thatched hut then wooden poles must be planted deep inside. The pig house or pigsty is constructed with its length axis in east to west direction this will help from sun and rain. The height of the roof towards east side must be higher with height of the roof at the west side must be lower; this will give water to roll down freely and allowing enough shade at some part inside the pig house in the day. The height of the walls must be four to five feet high. Pigsty must be comfortable for the pigs to live having good ventilation, no overheating inside, no odors, and no dampness with ample shade. Flooring of the house can be of cement but not polished, stone slates, bricks or wooden and with a slope at one side to facilitate cleaning with water.
The housing for the pigs is divided into different pen for each phase of the pig in the production cycle. Below is the list of housing and spacing points required to start pig farming for beginners:
Boar: The floor space of the house must be about 20 to 25 sq.ft. If the boar is reared in open space then each boar must have ample space of about 30 to 40 sq.ft. Supply clean and cool water and boars drink plenty of water about 45 litres per day.
Pregnant sow or Farrowing: The floor space of the house must be about 25 to 30 sq.ft. If the farrow is reared in open space then each farrow must have ample space of about 30 to 40 sq.ft. Supply clean and cool water about 20 to 22 litres per day.
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Weaner: These are pigs that have been weaned from their mother and they need to be raised in a separate house to grow. The floor space of the house must be about 3 to 6sq.ft. If they are reared in open space then weaners must have ample space of about 30 to 40 sq.ft. Supply clean and cool water about four litres per day.
Dry Sow: The floor space of the house must be about 6 to 10 sq.ft. If they are reared in open space then young sow requires a space of about 30 to 40 sq.ft. Supply clean and cool water about five litres per day.
Pig Farming – Feeding
A pig’s diet must meet adequate amounts of proteins and energy along with minerals and vitamins for optimal growth and health. Fixed rations are given accordingly that suit each stage of their growth as well as by gender. With timely and proper diet a weaner about 20 kg can reach to a market weight of about 110 kg in approximately three to four months. To have good meat production, good feed must be given for pig’s growth and body support. Farmer can utilize locally accessible feeds that are more affordable, however can be nutritiously rich when prepared properly. The nourishing requirements of pigs can be separated into six classifications or classes. These are water, starches, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. These can be obtained through oat, maize, soybeans, grains, broken wheat and rice, sorghum, millets, meat meal, fishmeal and oil cakes. Pigs can also be fed with fresh green legumes, vegetables, fruits, root crops and for economic viability they can be picked from markets that are damaged while transporting and handling. The feed must be supplemented with minerals and antibiotic at the rate of 11 mg per kg of ration.
The following table gives particularly the different feed requirements in the pig production cycle.
|Nutrients||Creep feed (Up to weaning)||Grower ration (20-40 kg)||Finisher ration (40-90 kg)||Pregnant and nursing sow|
|Protein supplement (%) Oilcakes (groundnut, sesame, soyabean, linseed)||16 to 18||14 to 16||13 to 14|
|Animal protein||8 to 10||4||2|
|Grains (Maize, sorghum, millets or combination of grains) (%)||60 to 65||50 to 55||40 to 50|
|Wheat bran or rice bran (%)||5||10||20|
|Mineral mixture (%)||0.5||0.5||0.5|
|Antibiotic supplement (mg)||40||20||10|
|The composition of the concentrate feed for various age groups pigs|
|Maize or sorghum or broken wheat, broken rice and barley in convenient combinations||65||50||50||50|
|Oil cakes (groundnut oil cake, soya bean oil-cake, sesame oil cake, linseed oil cake||14||18||20||20|
|Wheat bran or rice bran||10||1.5||25||18|
|Fish meal or meat meal or cooked offal, skim milk powder dairy wastes||5||5||3||5|
For healthy growing of pigs in farm, they must be fed with complete ration that is rich in protein, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and fibre. The convenient way to feed pigs is mixing all different ingredients together (rice bran, crushed maize, soya beans, broken rice and wheat, etc) in proportion and give the pigs the amount they will eat two to three times a day without much wastages. The following table is the approximate amount of dry feed recommended to be given:
|Pig body weight (kg)||Feed consumption per pig per day (kg)|
Pig Farming – Breeding
When starting pig farming business it’s very important to get highly productive pig breeds. There are many breeds available and for commercial farming a farmer has to choose breeds that have good offspring size, strength and vigour of litters, quality pork, milking ability and animal temperament. Having herd that gains growth rate over feed efficiency and fertility plays an important role when it comes to farm profits.
Pigs production cycle is quick, very easy and simple. Both boar and sow come to maturity for breeding by eighth month. By this time the animals weigh about 80 to 120 kg. Female pig comes to heat within 18 to 24 days and the heat period lasts for two to three days. The gestation period is 115 days and delivers piglets twice in a year giving about 16 to 24 annually.Sow comes into heat after weaning within two to ten days.
Selection of Gilts (Female pig) in Pig Farming:
When buying or choosing gilt there are few things a farmer must keep in mind while choosing the right gilt for his farm. The gilt must be having good performance in feed conversion against body weight gaining. The females must have good track record of consistent in weaning of large litters and farrowing.
Selection of Boars in Pig Farming:
Boars are taken in farm for the sole reason for breeding. Farmer must enquire and gain enough information on its performance and check the feed conversion from weaning to 100 kg weight, while a good boar will weigh 90 kg in about five to six months.
Pig Farming – Care and Management
Water Supply in Pig Farming: Water must be given on a daily basis. The water trough must be removed of left-over water of the other day before filling the trough. Any medication to be administered through water can be done in a separate trough but not in the regular one.
Feeding in Pig Farming: Feeding can be done two ways: Dry feed and Wet feed. But it is recommended to avoid wet feeding as it harbors breeding ground to flies and other microorganisms. If wet feed is supplied then it must be in 30 to 60 minutes and followed by cleaning the left overs. Dry feed is preferred for convenience and health and medications can be given along with the pig feed.
Cleaning in Pig Farming: Pen must be cleaned regularly as it helps pigs not to fall sick and prone to diseases. Cleaning can be done after pigs defaecate usually after sometime when they are fed.
Observation: Pigs have to be looked after carefully as it will affect the production costs and farm profits. Sickness, injuries, signs of discomfort and animals on heat can only be observed and detected when they are not feeding.
Care for Pregnant Sows in Pig Farming: Conception will occur when sows are successfully served. Pregnant pigs must be housed separately in groups and care must be taken that they are not mixed with new comers to avoid infighting which may lead to abortion. Pregnant pigs must have enough space to walk around on a daily basis in the mornings. About 30 sq.ft of dry housing must be available for each sow. Gestation period last about 114 days and proper feed must be maintained at this time by supplying green leaves, vegetables along with fortified feed.
Care during Farrowing and Piglets in Pig Farming:In the cycle of pig farming farrowing time is the most critical time as death rate stands high during farrowing. A worker or caretaker must be available at the time of farrowing to protect newly born piglets during that crucial two to four hours for complete farrowing to take place. Before bringing the sow to the farrowing pen, the pen must be thoroughly cleaned and the sow must arrive a week before to get familiar with the surroundings. Cleaning must be done to prevent piglets from large number of diseases. The sow must be given a special diet at this time. Sow must be thoroughly washed before it comes to the farrowing pen. The feed ration must be supplemented with bran and greens with regular feed in the last week of pregnancy to avoid constipation in the sow as this will interfere with farrowing process. Upon careful observation and predicting the time of farrowing, feed must be stopped 12 hours prior to farrowing.
Piglets must be cleaned of all mucus especially the breathing passages should be clear. Cut the navel cord one to two inch away with a disinfected scissors and clean the navel portion with iodine. New born piglets must be nursed and they feed on sow’s milk every two to three hours in the initial 24 hours.
Diseases in Pig Farming
Hog Cholera in Pig Farming: This is an acute viral disease and highly contagious spreading through animal contact, urine, faeces or through other body secretions.
Common Symptoms: Loss of appetite, high body temperature with eye inflammation and eyelids stick together by a discharge in the eyes, severe diarrhea, and the animal dies after seven to eight days.
Control: Vaccination must be administered at the right time as there’s no effective medication to infected animals and contact must be avoided.
African swine fever in Pig Farming: It is a contagious and dangerous viral disease. At acute stage can cause 100% mortality in the farm.
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Symptoms: Loss of appetite and pigs nestle closely together. Infected animals are found to have purplish blotches on their skin with incoordination and heavy breathing.
Control: There is no vaccination or effective treatment and the infected pigs should be destroyed and disposed-off properly.
Swine Influenza in Pig Farming:Animals undergoing stress due to rapid temperature variation triggers the disease. This is a respiratory disease caused by influenza virus and highly contagious spreading by air. Though the mortality is low but results in stunting and affects the weight growth rate.
Control: This viral disease can be controlled by good management and avoid stress will limit the disease. There are no effective medicines or vaccination.
Marketing in Pig Farming
The growth of pig farm industry depends on marketing the quantity and quality of pork in the market. Marketing can be done either by selling live gilts or processed meat in the market for income. One or more pigs can be sold directly in market central place or individuals or to butcher. Processed products of pork meat such as Ham, Smoked Pork, Gammon, Bacon and Sausage can be marketed in retail market or in local market. Pig meat or pork has great demand domestically and abroad. Pig farming in India is profitable business in India as the social scenario of pig farming and its products has changed greatly.
Advantages of Pig Farming
- Feed Conversion to meat rate is high compared to other livestock.
- By 6 months pigs attain market weight.
- Farmer can expect 2 litters per year with 8 to 12 piglets per farrowing.
- Low labor required.
- Less investment.
- No wastage in animal parts, hairs is used for brushes, intestines for sausages, skin for leather, etc.
- Pork meat has high energy due to fat percentage.