Knowing your market is the first step to start a commercial pig farm. Once there is a high demand for your product you are in business.
The next step is to determine the type of breed that is most productive. The breed should be native to the region and popular. Determine your business template, sale of piglets, full size pigs or start a breeding program.
Why Invest in Pig Farming
The question is why invest in pig farming. Running a commercial piggery is very profitable and the swine are easy to handle. They are rugged, have low mortality rate are omnivores and consume a wide variety of food.
Other reasons include fast growth, readily available food source and low startup. Their housing, equipment is basic with turnover within six months. They also have high feed conversion rate.
The cost of pig food is cheaper than other livestock feed. Finally the animals have strong immune system that wards of diseases. They also attract premium prices per pound.
Reasons to Start Pig Farming
- commercial pig farming is profitable
- easy to raise
- they are rugged
- low mortality rate
- fast growing
- readily available food source
- low startup
- basic housing, equipment
- turnover within six months
- high feed conversion rate
- pig food is cheaper
- strong immune system
- they attract good price
- how to start a commercial goat farm
One of the reasons why pig farming is lucrative is the verity of products. The meat derivatives from pig are bacon, sausage, ham, pork. The meat could be smoked, fried or grilled.
Common products from pig are wine corks (bone), pet food and fabric softener. Other products are low fat butter, safety gloves, drug capsules, x-ray films. More include cigarette filters, colorants, fish food, shampoos, and soaps.
- wine corks (bone)
- pet food
- fabric softener
- low fat butter
- safety gloves
- drug capsules
- x-ray films
- cigarette filters
- fish food
- rabbit farming
Like any living thing the animals fall ill and die. Common diseases are diarrhea, hypo glycaemia, proliferate enterpathy. Others are swine dysentery, lameness and internal parasites.
Diarrhea is cased by coli bacillosis, hypo glycaemia by starvation and swine dysentery, bacteria. Ringworms are responsible for internal parasites while premature culling causes lameness.
The different symptoms to watch out for are pneumonia, reduced growth, weakness and sudden death. There are different medications and control mechanisms. They include provision of supplements, vaccination or antibiotics.
Diseases and Conditions
- hypo glycaemia
- proliferate enterpathy
- swine dysentery
- internal parasites
|Yersiniosis||Diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever|
|Cryptosporidiosis (parasite)||Abdominal cramp|
How to Start a Pig Farm
Learn the Trade
You need to acquire knowledge of pig farming. Learn from existing farmers, experts in the industry. You could gain workplace experience, attend seminars, workshops. Other ways include online courses, tutorial, and books.
- learn from existing farmers
- experts in the industry
- gain workplace experience
- attend seminars
- online courses
Write a Business Plan
Write a pig farming business plan and carry out a feasibility study. Try to identify your competitor’s prices, type of stock and marketing strategy. Identify your customer demography and preferences. Add future projections, potential profit, business template and capital to the plan.
Armed with the business plan you can estimate the amount of startup funding needed. Try target saving or borrow from family and friends. Approach a commercial bank in your area for long term, low interest loans. Other funding sources include partnership, angel investors, crowd funding or a core investor.
Find a Location
You cannot raise pigs in residential areas because the animal smell is noisy, messy and vocal. There are locations specifically zoned for livestock business.
Best locations are farming settlement or outskirts of the city. Farm land is cheap so purchase or lease as required. Make sure the land has adequate space, water and good road network.
Pigs live in pen shelters safe from the elements. Most pens are built from blocks or concrete. The animals should have a feeding area and plenty of water. In the pen design make provision for adequate drainage.
Although pigs have strong immune systems they are still susceptible to illness and diseases. It is essential to maintain high hygiene standards and cleanliness. The waste feed should be removed and discarded everyday and water replenished daily.
How to Build a Pigpen
Any enclosed area that provides shelter, food is a pen. The considerations when building one is size of the animal, space, ventilation and accessibility. It should protect from the weather and rodents.
You need to determine the number of animals it can hold comfortably. A pen could be a temporary construction or permanent enclosure. The pen should be sturdy, durable and clean.
Make the fence with wood or aluminum rod, use wooden posts, slats, hog panels and sturdy wire. The roof of the pen could be 7 to 8 feet and use partition bar to separate the pigs. You can use an automatic feeder or feed them small portions at a time to discourage waste.
Automatic watering systems are also handy and provide a patch of water for wallowing. Another construction method is to use blocks to build the pen. The block height should not exceed 4 ft but adequate space is required. Use wooden beams of 8 ft and make a regular aluminum sheet covering.
Pig Farm Equipment
There is some equipment you need to run the farm. Purchase water trough, castration tool, farrow crates, stainless steel feeder. You need insulation box, cooling pads, piglet feeder, and pig nipple drinker.
More are infra red heat lamps, adjustable plastic syringe, plastic pig, dispenser drop feeder. Buy the pig gestation crates, teeth clipper, ear tags and thermometer. You need an effective ventilation system, piglet nursery bed and pig waterer.
- water trough
- castration tool
- farrow crates
- stainless steel feeder
- insulation box
- cooling pads
- piglet feeder
- pig nipple drinker
- infra red heat lamps
- adjustable plastic syringe
- plastic pig dispenser
- drop feeder
- pig gestation crates
- teeth clipper
- ear tags
- ventilation system
- piglet nursery bed
- pig waterer
Breed selection is important to the success or failure of your enterprise. Make sure the sow you choose produces the maximum amount of piglets.
The type of pig depends on their geographical location and breeding. Top breeders are Duroc, Hurra, Hampshire White, and Large white Yorkshire. Other breeds are Bandel, Pygme, Kolbroek, SA Lanrace.
- Hampshire White
- Large white Yorkshire
- SA Lanrace
Buy the Piglets
Purchase your stock from trustworthy breeders. The pigs must be healthy, lively and agile. Purchase both boar and sow and study their vaccination history.
You need to plan a breeding program and assign appropriate resources. To start a breeding program you need 10 females and 2 males. If you want to raise full size pigs then purchase about 50 piglets.
Mating in Swine
There are three ways to breed swine, hand mating, pen mating and artificial insemination. A gilt (young female pig) reaches sexual maturity in 24 weeks and are ready to mate. The reproductive cycle is 21 days with a window of two to three days.
Hand mating involves the introduction of a sow in estrus to a boar. This method guarantees good results while effectively eliminating competition. To ensure good productivity the sow is introduced at boar’s peak fertility.
Pen mating is similar to hand mating except many sows are introduced to a boar. This method is least effective, causes competition and moderate success. To reduce labor requirement the boar is moved to the sow’s pen. A farmer can use a ratio of 1 boar to 15 sows.
Artificial insemination is the collection of semen from boar through a manual process. A technician uses a sterile vessel, stored at room temperature. The sperm density is tested using a spectroscope to ascertain the count and motility.
A sow is then prepared and a hollow tube is inserted to plug into cervix. The semen is then drained through the open cup-like end of the tube.
- Artificial Insemination
Estrus Detection in Swine
Detection method involves a back pressure test to determine if the sow stands still. The detection test is important to eliminate non-productive sows from reproductive ones.
Signs of estrus are erect ears, swollen red vulva, standing firmly for mounting. Others are increased vocalization, rigidity to pressure on rump area, alertness. To encourage estrus the farmer should move the sow to the boar’s pen.
Signs of Estrus
- back pressure test
- estrus are erect ears
- swollen red vulva
- increased vocalization
- rigidity to pressure on rump area
Sows enter estrus 27 days after farrow while gestation period is 114 days. Once the piglets have attained good weight and are not entirely dependent on milk they are moved from mother. One the young pigs are moved it takes only a week for the female to get ready for breeding.
Use a Veterinarian
The health of your stock is very important to the success of the enterprise. Use a qualified veterinarian to administer appropriate vaccination. Conduct regular checks and provide nutritious feed.
How to Identify a Sick Pig
Things to consider before buying a pig are the age, health history of vaccinations administered. Other parameters are breeding history, the purpose of the sale.
Study the animal’s posture, appearance and skin color. Signs of sickness include coughing, heavy breathing, sneezing, swells or protrusions.
Signs of a Sick Pig
- Bad posture
- Heavy breathing
- Bad skin color
Boars and Sow
The boars are raised separately from the sows. Boars need time to adapt to their new environment. You then introduce the boar to mature sow when in heat. Remove all obstacles to prevent injury and keep judicious records.
Most boars are capable for only 2 years and subsequently need replacement. Features of a healthy sow are six teats on either side, sturdy looking legs. A suitable gilts for breeding should weigh at least 130 kg.
The sows usually have about 8 to 10 piglets. Reasons to stop breeding a sow are failure to conceive, lack of milk, old age. More include lameness, not coming into heat and frequent abortions.
Feeding the Swine
Pigs are omnivorous and can eat a verity of food. The basic composition of their food is garbage, waste feed, grains and forages. Make sure the food consists of a balance diet enriched with vitamins, minerals, fibers and carbohydrate.
The boar consumes about 3kg feed to gain 1kg. Therefore it should weigh 85 to 90 kg in 5 to 6 months. The type of feed differs by group such as boars, piglets, sows and pregnant sows. Feed ingredients are grains, rice, oats, millet and bran.
The cost considerations are huge for a commercial farm. The costs include labor, purchase of land, transportation, medical, repair and maintenance. Others include housing, pen, self feeders, fencing, water facilities, and feed.
- Labor wages
- purchase of land
- residential housing
- self feeders
- water facilities
Let’s assume you already have the landed property and pen setup. It takes about 8 months for the pigs to grow into adulthood. Suitable weight for sale is 85 to 90kg.
Let’s assume your initial investment is $2000. You would spend 1/3rd of the budget on 50 piglets. Seven months intensive feeding would gobble another 3rd.
Finally staff wages, utility bills and maintenance takes the final third. The remainder goes on marketing and miscellaneous. An 80 kg pig sells ten times the cost of a piglet. That means you total earnings is $6000-$2000 initial investment. Therefore your profit then stands at $4000.
Pigs have high commercial value based on their different products. Almost every part of the animal has economic uses.
Many commercial farms are in designated areas and clustered together. That means there are designated days to sell the stock. Top customers are butchers, restaurants, hotels and private individuals. Food processing companies are the major consumer of the product.
Marketing the Hogs
Direct marketing options depends on quality of product, prevailing price. A good way to market the pigs are through municipal buying clubs. Sell at approved farmers markets or on the farm premises.
It is important developing good relationship with consumers, market women. Hog prices fluctuate so farmers need to be creative to make more money. Optimizing sales by selling frozen pork or pork cuts.
Pork cuts are used to make barbecue chops, steak and kebab. The pork is also used as sausage, stir-fry meat, chops. Another good source of income is plant delivery. Deliver the hog directly to processing companies.
Marketing slaughter hogs
- Public markets
- Direct markets
- Plant delivery
- Group marketing
Direct Marketing Regulation
The regulations that guide direct marketing are different in many countries. However there are general guidelines to selling the product. Common determinants are labeling, how the hog is slaughtered, handling.
Others are cutting, processing, storage requirements, transportation and marketing. Slaughtering is done only at licensed slaughter houses.
- Define product quality
- Use licensed slaughter houses
- Use direct marketing
- Sell whole hogs or cuts
- Label the frozen pork