Optimum profitability on a pig farm starts by raising good quality gilts. After that, feeding a high-quality creep feed to the youngsters will ensure a healthy digestive system, and in turn, lead to optimal growth performance. Feed will be your biggest cost when raising pigs, but they reward careful feeding with excellent profits.
Patrick Mutimushi started farming with pigs in 2011. His farm, better known as Bird Bridge Farms, is based in Lusaka and mainly markets pigs at the age of six months at a weight of 90 kg to Zambeef and Zampork. Apart from the pigs, Patrick also farms with avocados, chickens, and ducks.
The use of good, highly productive breeding animals that grow efficiently is very important. Patrick has 100 productive sows, and the breeds include Landrace, Large White, Duroc and Hampshire.
Patrick says: “Looking at the business and the market of pig farming, I decided to start farming with pigs about ten years ago. Of course, there is a lot of hard work in pig farming, especially in feeding the pigs. We initially also started doing layer chickens, but when we compared the pigs and the chickens, the pigs showed more profit, therefore we decided to expand our pig production operation.
“The mechanism that Zambeef and Zampork have in place, makes pig farming much easier. When I have fifty or more pigs ready for slaughter, they come and collect them from the farm, and I get paid within three days of collection,” Patrick adds.
“The most important part of pig production is knowing the correct way to feed pigs. Whether browsing through a piglet feeding guide or studying swine management techniques, pigs need a high energy diet that is low in fibre, and contains ample protein,” says Patrick.
“Pigs quickly consume enormous quantities of food. To raise and maintain a healthy stock, maximise growth and reproduction, and increase production, it is necessary to feed them the right food and a balanced diet from wean to finish.
“The Novatek pig feed range is well balanced and ensures that my pigs reach their genetic potential. I’ve tested other feeds, but nothing compares to Novatek’s feed. When I started feeding my pigs Novatek’s pig feed, I could actually see the difference in their productivity, their performance and overall health and growth. The growth of my pigs is phenomenal,” explains Patrick. “A healthy pig usually maintains the same daily pattern of behaviour and remains alert and active. Since I started using Novatek’s pig feed my pigs are happier and healthier than ever before. Novatek is on the mark with their feed with all the necessary nutritional value that the pigs and piglets need.”
Ensuring a healthy and good environment for my pigs is also essential to ensure optimal growth. Patrick highlights some of the key aspects to keep in mind when having a piggery:
Good management of the piggery
Cleaning, disinfection, and vaccination of the pigs are crucial. Litter and waste management should also be done according to general practices.
Construction of your piggery
Good housing that will allow the efficient production of marketable pigs is important. Growing and reproducing pigs must be protected against high temperatures. The houses must therefore be built in such a way that the pigs are protected against extreme temperatures and other bad weather conditions such as cold winds and continuous rain. It is also important to ensure that there is enough clean water for your pigs.
Proper disease and health control
Clean conditions and precautionary measures on the farm will make disease control easier. Once the piglets are weaned, it is essential to give them the necessary vaccines to prevent respiratory infections, diseases, and parasites.
One should know the feed requirements of the different age groups and feed each group the correct quantity of the right mixture.
Handling of manure
It is important to stack the manure in such a way that water will be allowed to drain from the manure as quickly as possible. The compost can be used as fertiliser on cultivated lands. Patrick uses his compost as fertiliser for his avo plantations.
“I would recommend Novatek to any pig farmer because of the great experience I’ve had with their products. What I appreciate most about Novatek is the personal relationship that they have with us farmers. They visit the farms, check what is going on and advise you accordingly. They ensure a good client-distributor relationship and that is key,” Patrick adds.
“I would advise young upcoming pig farmers to do proper research before starting a piggery. It is important to understand the business model of a piggery. It is crucial to really understand the animal that you are keeping, what it needs, when does it need, and how do I need to deal with any issues that arise. Consult other pig farmers and do not hesitate to ask questions,” he concludes.