One farmer, who has stuck to exclusive commercial feeds for pigs, is recording success as a result of uniform growth that is helping him meet delivery deadlines to the market.
Despite other farmers move to supplement feeds in cutting costs of production, Bernard Nyaramba said the risks outweigh the benefits of saving.
The balanced diet in the commercial feeds ensures uniform growth and standard weight addition for every cluster of pigs he raises.
The Kakamega County farmer said it cost him only Sh9,000 to raise a piglet to market weight of 256kg in seven months.
“Exclusive feeding on commercial feeds gives a definite growth rate. Over the last six years I have been in this agribusiness, I am able to programme on delivery, and the weight disparity in a cluster is dismal,” Nyaramba said.
This farmer, who started rearing the pigs after a neighbour who was relocating left him four piglets, is contracted to deliver baconers to Nairobi-based meat processor, Farmer’s Choice Company.
After seven months, he delivers the baconers, which are also called finishers, to the company.
“I deliver 25 finishers to the company when they are 21 to 28 weeks. After of the all expenses, I remain with about Sh400,000 from every delivery,” he said.
No excess feeding
After five months, Nyaramba said, fattening the pigs requires two kilos per day. No further increment is recommended past three kilos until they reach 28 weeks, which is the right time for bacon.
The three kilos are spread into one, kilo in the morning, another one in the afternoon and the last one in the evening.
Pigs are fed out of necessity, not until they are satisfied.
A 70kg pig meal costs Sh2,300. A pig at between 21 to 28 weeks will consume 145kg of Finishing Meal until it is ready for slaughtering.
Other farmers feed pigs on organic garbage while others add some solution to material like sawdust to make it edible.
Big pig multiplication
Out of the four he started with in 2010, Nyaramba has 226 pigs, which include 11 sows, three boars, 84 finishers, 68 weaners as well as 60 piglets.
One of the boars, Messi, weighs 235 kilogrammes. The two-year-old male pig is exclusively for mating. Messi was the champion in the Kakamega County Agricultural Society of Kenya Show, 2016.
Danger in other feeds
Besides knowing where to sell your produce before engaging in any agribusiness, the farmer said, doing more research ahead of common notions in key to avoiding “recklessness” in production.
Cheap is expensive
For instance, the move to use other feeds in pig production can be counter-productive in cases of contamination.
Instead of reducing the cost, 'uncertified' feeds will drive the expenses up in treatment and control of parasites like worms. Because these beasts are not selective feeders, he keep them indoors always.
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Mothers give birth to between nine and 18 piglets after a 115-day gestation period.
Nyaramba also sells his pigs to individuals at varies prices depending on age. A three months old pig fetches Sh15,000 while a five month one earns him Sh20,000. At seven months, he sells one sow at Sh25,000 and if it has been served, Sh35,000.
PHOTO: Kennedy Musyoka's 160kg pig reaching for the ground to rest after inspection on June 7, 2016 during the Machakos County Agricultural Society of Kenya Show. Kakamega County farmer Bernard Nyaramba has stuck to commercial feeds, which he says are helping him deliver orders on time to the market.
Nyaramba can be reached on +254726726706 OR +254791331636.