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.
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%