How to raise pigs in your backyard—scientifically or villagers’ intelligence

By-Ricky

A new born piglet weights 1.5 kg, after a month its weight become 20, and after another 3-4 months it reaches 90 kg and is ready for sale.

My project during the days in Guimaras is to work with a pig farm that plans to raise two pregnant sows in July. My boss, Gerly, received her initial capital from her former employer in Hong Kong, which enabled her to start the business. Gerly’s pig farm is the most luxury one in this district, and it is made by concrete and rod. The pig farm is divided into four rooms, basically a sow in a room, and all of them are slightly downward toward the dirt tank, which makes it easier to clean the floors. The dirt tank separates solid waste from pigs’ urine, and it not only decreases the number of flies attracted by dirt, but also provides a better environment for pigs. A good pig farm may not improve the health condition but a poor one will increase problem easily, such as the occurrence of parasites and disease.

The reason why we haven’t started to raise pigs is because we don’t have a well near the pig farm yet. Water is one of the necessities to raise pigs, and they consume a few liter of water a day. Another point is because during the dry season, March and April, there is not enough water for pigs to consume, and a big well may be a solution. Gerly has been busy for the past two weeks, so my teammate and I have to get the information that we need to do the project on our own. We first figured out how many piglets and sows there are in the village, the supply of pigs.

We spent a couple days to visit the people here door by door to ask whether they raise sows and piglets or not. According to what we found, there are 14 sows, 1 male pig and 105 piglets in the village. Not every family can afford to raise pigs because it takes a couple months, until piglets reach the harvest weight, for piglets’ owners to receive their payoff, and hog feeds are quite expensive compared to people’s monthly salary. As for the demand side, there are two pork stores in the village. Ricardo’s meat store sells 5 to 6 pigs a week, which is the biggest seller, and the other store has smaller market share, which kills 2 to 3 pigs a week. The pigs they sell are 5 months old, and their weight is around 80 kg, which is the harvest weight here. Last week, I spent a morning in Ricardo’s meat store to observe how many customer they usually have. There were 7 customers from 7 to 9 a.m., but only three of them bought pork. There is a bigger market between the village I live and the one nearby on every Wednesday and Friday. In that market, there are two pork shops, Ricardo’s and the one from the other village.

A sow can give birth to 10-15 piglets, and piglets have different growing rate and feed conversion depends on the breed of their mom. For example, Yorkhire and Duroc have superior mothering ability, and their piglets have better growing rate and feed conversion. The pregnancy period is around 115 days. After giving birth, a sow will milk the piglets for 45 days until they wean. Usually, pigs’ owners will sell some of the piglets after they wean to their neighbor, because they will otherwise need much more money to purchase feeds for all piglets. A 45 days old piglet is weighted 25 kg, and owners will keep them till 80 kg, and make (80-25)*80, 4400, when they sell piglets to pork stores. There are two type of feeding method, wet feeding and dry feeding. Even though wet feeding can reduce feed wastage, and increase digestibility, it attracts more flies. Piglets that are more than 30 days old need to be separated from their mom because their tooth are sharp enough to hurt the sow. Piglets have to be separated as well if they are not siblings because they will fight with each other. A sow that gave birth and already milked her piglets need a month to be ready for another mating, and it can tell by whether her vagina is red or not. There is only one male pig in the village who specialize in mating. The owner of the male pig is responsible for getting rid of male piglets’ testicles, giving vaccination and delivering the male pig for mating. He charges the biggest piglet among the new born babies for all the services. People in the village tend not to keep male pigs because they have to be full all the time otherwise they want to have sex every single second. The male pig farm we visited was quite different from others, because it has to be firm enough to prevent the male pig from escaping for mating. The number of piglets that a sow give birth partially depends on the length of mating. If it takes more than 20 minutes, there will be more piglets; while if it take only 10 minutes, there will be fewer piglets. A new born piglet will receive vaccination on his third day and tenth day of their life, which prevent and treat anemia. What surprised me was that Gillette was the tool he used to cut off piglets’ testicles! After the operation, he will apply antibiotic to the wounds and pour some into the wounds because flies will lay eggs. After a short period of time, these wounds can be healed naturally.

There are three large hog producers in the Philippines, which are Excel, B-MEG, and Prosperity. Excel’ headquarter is located in Iloilo city, and they offer three brands, which are Excel, Amigo and Lechon, to target and satisfy different customers. I went to Excel’s headquarter yesterday to talk to one of the salesperson about their service in Guimaras and their official prices of hog feeds. I then went to Jordadavn to meet the distributor who represents Excel in Guimaras, and asked whether there is any discount, and the transportation cost. She replied that there is 60 peso discount per bag (50 kg), and if I purchase at least 50 bags a time, there is no transportation cost. My teammate and I also recorded the retailer price of hog feeds in the village, in case of immediate usage. There are eight kind of feeds sold by Excel, which are Creep Booster Pellet Plus, Creep Booster, Pre-starter, Starter, Grower, Finisher, Brood Sow and Lactating Sow. There is a detailed feeding scheme on Excel website, when to feed what kind of feeds, and the amount of feeds per head per day. Given that it is much more expensive to the feeding scheme step by step carefully compared to how villagers raise their piglets, piglets fed accordingly to the feeding scheme can grow faster and have better carcass quality. However, villagers only feed piglets with starter and feed sows with rice mixed with rice husk, and its price is 50% less than what excel recommends.

Selling pork meat is our short term plan, adavnd one of the potential problem that may come across is that the demand will be less than supply. We have to record carefully about what time the customers buy and what do they prefer in the future to adjust our long term plan. To conclude the backyard-piggery industry in Guimaras, it needs capital to run this business and want at least six months to receive the payoff.

 

 

 

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