A bag of pig feed costs more than KSh 3,000 in the market.
Feeds take up to 80 per cent of pig production costs. Farmers can make their own feeds and sell surplus feed to other farmers. What they need is to know the rations of mixing the different ingredients.
Pig rearing is once again becoming popular due to increased pork consumption in most of Kenya’s urban areas. More farmers are venturing into the business to diversify their farming activities and take advantage of the good prices offered by processing companies due to the shortage of pigs in the country. However, feeding of pigs is a major challenge for most of the pig farmers. Pig feeds are expensive, taking up to 80 per cent of a farmer’s production costs. A bag of pig feed now sells at an average of KSh 3400.
Pig feed should be of high quality to ensure the pigs grow to the desired weight for the market. Due to the huge demand for information on pig feeding TOF provides farmers with information they would require on pig feeding and give more feed formulations that can help them cut the cost of pig production:
Young pigs do not take much in terms of solid feed because they get all their nutritional needs from their mothers' milk. To ensure piglets get enough milk from suckling during the early stages of growth, farmers should give the sows adequate and balanced feed to ensure they produce adequate milk for the piglets. At three weeks after farrowing (birth), the farmer should castrate all male piglets and start to train them to eat solid feeds. Suckling piglets should also have their sharp teeth clipped, three days after farrowing to prevent them causing injury to their mother during suckling.
Assuming a farmer has 10 piglets to feed, they can isolate a creep area (housing for young ones) where their mother cannot reach and put in 50g of feed per piglet per day. Observe the feeding daily; if you see the feed reducing, add another 50g for each into their feeding trough to make it 1kg. At 5 weeks (35 to 42 days) add another 50g per piglet to make it 150g. The piglets should always have access to their mother in case they want to suckle. They should also have access to clean water at all times.
At 6 weeks, each piglet should be getting 200g of feed per week. If they finish the feed, keep on adding an extra 50g per piglet daily. During the feeding process, the farmer should weigh the pigs weekly (a healthy pig at this stage should add at least 900g per day). If there is an increase in weight at this rate, it means that the pigs are growing well. Weaners should be given dry feed at all times to prevent scouring or diarrhoea. Give adequate clean water at all times.
At 14 weeks, the pigs will require additional feed; the farmer can give 1.4kg of extra feed per pig per day. In addition, the farmer should continue giving the 50g of feed as they were doing before. Divide the pig feed into three equal portions:
A wet ration in the morning at 7 am (feed mixed with water), a dry feed at noon (feed with no water) and a final wet feed (feed mixed with water) at 4 pm. A well-fed porker pig should add an extra 300g of weight per day (weigh them regularly and record their weight to monitor their growth).
At 22 weeks, the pigs (now called baconers) require a higher feed ration as they are about to attain the market liveweight of between 80-90kg. At this stage the farmer should give them 2.5 – 2.75kg of feed per pig per day. From 23 weeks, the feed should be increased to 3kg (1kg of wet feed in the morning, 1kg of dry feed at noon and 1kg of wet feed at 4pm). If well managed at this stage pigs can attain up to 100kg in 5 months.
At this stage the farmers can now do selection of the pigs to determine those that can go to the abbattoir for slaughter, young female pigs (gilts) can be served and sold to interested farmers while others can be retained for breeding as sows. The boars (male pigs) can also be sold or retained for breeding purposes (be careful to ensure the pig does not serve its daughters or related pigs to avoid inbreeding). A well-managed baconer should add an extra 900g to 1000g (1 kg) per day.
Sows need special attention in feeding. A sow’s yield can be as high as 16-17 litres of milk per day. To produce this amount of milk, a sow has to be well fed, both for body maintenance and milk production. A sow with piglets that are suckling requires 6 kilogrammes of feed every day or an amount of feed that is equal to 25 % of her body weight.
The feeding should be divided into 3 rations (2kg of wet feed in the morning, 2kg of dry feed at noon and 2kg of wet feed at 4pm). Like other pigs, sows should be given adequate and clean water at all times.
A female pig that is not yet served (gilts) should be given at least 3kg of feed per day. The farmer can supplement this with any other available feed in addition to this ration to keep them in good shape in terms of health and reproduction.
Male pigs (boars) should not be given a lot of feed. If given more feed, they tend to put more weight and this compromises their fertility. A boar should be given 3 to 4 kg of feed per day. Some farmers give less or even starve them in order to reduce fattening. Give them clean water at all times.
Pig feed formulation
Feed formulation is not easy especially for small-scale farmers due to lack of raw materials and the technical knowledge on how to prepare their own feeds. For farmers keeping a few pigs, we would advise that they buy feeds from reputable companies who are known to make quality feeds. However, such farmers can reduce their feed costs considerably if they can formulate supplementary feeds like sweet potato vines.
However, for farmers who want to keep many pigs, say, between 500 to 1000 pigs, it makes economic sense to make their own feeds as long as they can get the right raw materials for feed formulation. Below, we give farmers two methods they can use to make pig feed in order to reduce their feed costs:
Feed formula 1: Making silage from sweet potato vines
Sweet potato vines are very nutritious pig feed if well prepared and preserved. Here is how to prepare them:
• Cut 60-100kg of sweet potato vines and spread them dry in the sun for about 30 minutes.
• Chop the vines into tiny pieces and mix them with 10 kg of maize germ or pig growers mash.
• Sprinkle ½ kg of mineral salt and mix thoroughly.
• Put the mixture into an airtight 250-litre plastic tank. Compress the vines firmly to remove any air spaces as you do when preparing silage.
• Add some little EM1 solution to improve the quality of the silage.
• Cover the tank airtight. Let it stay for 14 days (two weeks).
• Open the tank to check if the silage is ready- if the silage has a sweet smell and has turned yellow in colour, then it is ready feeding.
• You can feed the sweet potato silage to pigs from four months of age, sows, gilts and boars at any time before or after feeding their usual daily rations.
Pig farmers who incorporate sweet potato silage into the pig diet can cut their feed costs by up to 30 per cent. In addition, the sweet potato tubers can be eaten or sold in the market, a kilogramme of sweet potato tuber retails for between KSh 60 to KSh 80.
Other supplementary feeds suitable for pigs include sukumawiki (kales), vegetables, cabbages, lucerne, amaranth (terere), avocadoes, pawpaws or even bananas. Hotel leftovers (also called sweal) can be given to pigs but farmers must be very careful because food leftovers may be contaminated; the food can be reboiled (cooked again) to ensure all disease-causing organisms are destroyed before the leftover are given to pigs.
Feed formula 2
48kg of maize germ
12kg of pollard
12.5kg of soya cake
7.5kg of fishmeal
0.75kg of lime
1kg of bonemeal
125g of salt
150g of lysine
150g of feed premix
300g of zinc
This pig feed ration has a Digestible Crude Protein (DCP) content of 22.3% and can be given to pigs at all stages of growth. Put all the ingredients in a feed mixer and mix thoroughly to ensure they are evenly distributed. In Nakuru, Nairobi and Thika, there are many feed raw material suppliers. Feed premix, lysine, bonemeal and lime are also available from selected agrovet shops in most towns.
Feed formula 3
How to prepare 7 bags of pig feed
60kg of whole maize
210kg of maize germ
140kg of pollard
50kg of soya cake
27kg of fishmeal (or first grade omena)
4kg of bone meal
7kg of lime
1kg of salt
1kg of Premix (grower or sow
1kg of lysine
2kg of zinc
Important: Farmers should use clean maize, not rotten one (maozo). If using omena, the quality should be high.
The above formula has the following percentages of nutrients:
Fat – 5.05%