Starting a pig farm is one project that can bring satisfaction and joy to the farmers if it is done well.I quiet remember the happiness i felt when I started mine two years ago. It was experimental, just wanted to start something because i had researched for about two years. Downloaded a lot of pig farming stuff on you tube. But my first mistake was that i took the project as a hubby..Pig farming is a serious business that needs time, attention and cash.
Pig Farming is serious business.
Yes, Pig farming is serious business and nobody starts a business to loose.From the inception of the project, you should have it at the back of your mind that you are investing to make returns. In this business, volumes count if you want to see a meaningful return on your investment. So if you really want to make a meaningful returns, start with 20 to 50 sows so that you can increase your herds size to 500 within a year. Last month when i supplied 55 pigs to the Accra mall, it got finished in one week. So if you want to enter into a contract to supply them for six month, then you can imagine the total number of pigs you should have. Pig farming has changed, so it is important that we increase our capacity to rear more.
Documentation is Critical
Most pig farmers do not keep any proper record. So how do you know if you are making profit or loss. Do you even know how much you spent on your animals per month. It is very good you develop the habit of recording from the onset because it will give you an idea on how to sell. The major areas that you should take record on in your farm are on the following;
Transport & Fuel
So at the end of every month, do your calculations and divide by the number of animals on the farm, it will give you an idea on how much you are spending on one pig in a month. You can go an extra mile to prepare an income statement for your farm at the end of the year.
Handle your piglets Well
If you are operating a farrow-to-finish pig farming, then you ought to handle your piglets well because that is one area most farmers overlook. Most farmers loose about one third of their piglets due to numerous reasons, sow eating all the piglets, sow sleeping on piglets and a lot of funny reasons. During my first year as a pig farmer, i lost almost half of my piglets and it affected my expansion project. If you have to construct or invest in a farrowing crates. Do so because it will save you a lot of piglets.
Find Alternate Source of Cheap Quality Feed
Feeding takes up almost 70% of the cost of raising pigs to maturity. To make any meaningful profit, it is important you find an alternate source of feed that is of high quality but also cheap. Farmers should find a cheaper source of carbohydrate and learn to mix their own feed. If you are a full time farmer, then you can gather any of the following to give to your pigs. You can also mix any of these with prepared feed. Presently, there is a guy selling 1 tonne of dried cassava chips at 100gh per tonne at Tema, if you want his contact, just give me a call.
Feeding Your Pigs with inexpensive good Feed:
1. Cassava root can completely replace maize as energy source for pig. It should be sun dried or socking for 3 days to remove the gynogenic glycosides.
2. Cassava leave is a good source of protein
3. Dry cassava peel (Cassava husk or covers) is also relatively high in fiber. Palm oil should be added to reduce it dustiness.
4. Sweet potato root can be shopped and sun-dried and use as energy source for pig and cooking improve digestivity
5. Sweet potato leave also provide a good protein source for growing pigs.
6. Green banana contain lignin and tanmins and should be shopped and cooked and given as part of feed.
7. Banana leaves and plantain leaves can be fed directly to pigs
8. Groundnut cake and palm kernel cake are good source of protein
9. Papaya leaves are excellent source of vitamins.
10. Papaya fruits excellent source of vitamins. Boil the green Papaya fruits before given it to pigs but the red Papaya fruits can be given to pigs directly.
11. Cocoyam leaves provide 25% of protein to growing pigs
12. Sugarcane plant as pig feed
13. Sugarcane leaves as pig feed
Don’t Ignore Bio-Security
Most farmers joke with Bio security. Its not that too expensive but most farmers joke with it until a major disease affects and wipe out all their herds before they start to ponder where the disease came from. So when constructing your sty, don’t forget to create a small area in front of the sty where you can place a disinfectant for workers or any other visitor to dis-infect their shoes before entering the pig farm.
Selling Your Animals
That is another area farmers take for granted. If you have records of your farm activities, then you should have a fair idea of the production cost of your animals. No Middleman should come to your farm and look at your animals and mention any outrageous price for you. At most to avoid any cheating, weigh before you sell your animals. Live weight is going for GH7.00 now and carcass weight GH9.5 per kilo