Constructing Housing for the Pigs
My dad’s driver, Greg, got into the piggery business in early 2000. In addition to being a good driver, Greg was a wonderful guy. I was working in my dad’s ship- staffing agency back then and every Christmas, Greg would contribute a roasted pig or lechon during the staff party.
I think it was in 2006 that Greg lost his piggery when a strong typhoon ripped through his province, destroyed the pens and drowned all the pigs. Although Greg recovered his investment, it was such a horrible experience that he never went back to the business again.
Construction of housing for the pigs is very important. You have to make sure the pens are stable, sturdy and regularly sanitized. It is strongly suggested that you use concrete flooring for easy cleaning. Pigs are highly susceptible to diseases and parasites.
You should have an area in the pen that you can use to isolate pigs that have been infected with contagious bacteria. With regards to contamination, only buy pigs that have been immunized for hog cholera and swine plague.
If you decide to go with concrete, make sure these are not too rough, or it may lead to foot injuries and expose the pigs to bacterial contamination. The concrete must not be too smooth that the pigs are constantly slipping and sliding.
If your area is prone to typhoons, you should be prepared to invest in a strong shelter for the pigs. There must be adequate drainage, and the pens should be located in a slightly sloping area to reduce the risk of flooding.
For small scale operations, pens made of bamboo or nipa may be used, but you should implement a regular cleaning schedule.
The pig houses must be fitted with feeders and drinking troughs. Although some piggery owners use old, used automobile tires, it is better to make them out of concrete.
Feeding the Pigs
You have 3 to 4 months to get the piglets to grow to marketable size. It is very important to use a high-quality feed to ensure the health and safety of the meat and by-products.
Here is a typical feeding schedule for a grow out piggery system:
- Start feeding the piglets with high-quality pre- starter ration at one week of age. The ration changes at different growth stages but it should be done at a gradual pace to allow for a natural transition in the feeding behavior of the pigs. Usually, a one- week transition would suffice.
- A starter ration is given when the pigs are at two months of age and weight comes in between 10 and 25kg.
- The grower ration is for pigs that are at 30 to 35kg and until they reach 15 to 20 weeks old.
- A finisher ration is given when the pigs reach 60kg or around 20 weeks old.
- A ration should always include sufficient amounts of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals.
- Always provide the pigs with clean drinking water.
There are some commercial operators of piggeries that use dry feeding to streamline labor and feeding equipment costs. Backyard operators prefer wet feeding.
Environmental Factors and Issues with the Piggery Business
Before starting a piggery, you should understand the business carries serious implications on the environment.
Gas emissions and waste products could compromise surface and ground water quality and safety. It is also an enterprise which elicits unpleasant odors which could be bothersome to nearby residential areas.
You should have sound manure management policies and practices in place to ensure proper disposal of waste and control of gas emissions. Among the gasses produced by a piggery business include ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have been identified as contributors to global warming.
Some studies contend the increasing scale of livestock enterprises the last few years have accelerated adverse environmental conditions. To address the situation, technology has been developing ways to convert waste products into useful products such as biogas fertilizers.
For now, however, you should ensure top level management of waste disposal procedures and institute measures to contain gas and foul odor emissions.
Managing a pig pen will require you to routinely go through a checklist of things that need to get done. If you cannot be there full- time, hire someone you can trust to manage the piggery. But you should make your presence felt at the piggery as often as you can.
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Another concern for piggery business owners is the incidence of theft. Conduct an inventory of your pigs, feed, and other supplies and emphasize accountability to everyone who works in the piggery.
But if you can get the right location to support operations and take all the necessary precautions to ensure the health of the pigs, a piggery business could be a long- term, financially- rewarding enterprise for you.