PIGS (Feeding And Housing)


Pigs are efficient converters of a wide range of food materials, have a rapid rate of growth and demonstrate a good capacity for reproduction. Most breeds of pig are sensitive to hot sun and have to be provided with shade and protection from rain and strong winds since their skins are covered with only a thin layer of hairs or bristles.

Pigs also have a poor heat-regulating mechanism, due mainly to a lack of sweat glands in the skin; this is one reason for the preference of most pigs for rolling and wallowing in wet mud or water. The evaporation of water from the skin and the coating of mud acquired from wallowing assists in keeping the skin surface cool.

Pig-rearing systems There are three well-defined methods of pig keeping,adapted for varying scales of  production and the facilities which can be provided.


The animals are housed in buildings which are equipped with labour-saving devices such as self feeding or automatic feeding mechanisms. The animals reared under this system can be placed into various groups, according to age and type of animal required but the capital and maintenance costs of this type of enterprise are quite considerable and an efficient operation is required in order to produce an adequate return on the investment. Particular attention has to be given to disease and  parasite control since a large number of animals are kept at a fairly high stocking density.


The animals kept under this regime are given the opportunity of spending part of the day in the open, feeding on green vegetation, while the remaining period is spent under cover. The runs or paddocks used for exercise and feeding may be rotated, to reduce the risk of spreading diseases, and mud wallows may also be provided to encourage the animals to keep cool.

This system produces healthy animals which also costless to produce than with the intensive system since there is no expensive equipment required for their feeding and less intensive supervision of their health is needed.

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The animals are raised mostly on pastures which are used in rotation to reduce the risk of disease infection.

Some rudimentary shelter is provided for the animals against wet or windy weather and also for the sows to farrow. Mud wallows are required and shade for the pigs from the hot sun. Pigs raised under these conditions are usually healthy but are less likely to grow as rapidly as those raised under the intensive system. The costs of providing additional food and occasional medical treatment are the main financial inputs required and therefore the extensive system is the most economical to establish and maintain.


This system is, at present, mainly used by Government Departments, Research Stations and large-scale commercial producers but it is likely that it will become more popular as the cost of and demand for animal protein increases, attracting more large-scale producers. The buildings used normally have walls of concrete block construction, with concrete floors which can be washed regularly to maintain a satisfactory hygienic standard. These floors should be sloping so that urine can drain away to a main channel; they should also have a rough surface to prevent the animals from slipping on wet surfaces. 

Walls are usually 1-1.5 m in height, allowing for adequate ventilation between the top of the walls and the eaves which are usually 2-2.5 m high. Supports are generally reinforced concrete pillars and the roofing materialmay be asbestos, galvanised iron or aluminium sheeting or thatch. The internal layout of the piggery varies with the type of enterprise, but will generally have provision for weaning, fattening and breeding stock as well as compartments for growers. Sick animals should be accommodated in a pen or stye which is completely separate from the main buildings. Indicates a possible layout for an individual pig unit.

Farrowing pens should have rails fitted at a distance of 20 cm from the wall or other provision for creep feeding so that the sow will not lie on the piglets.

Feeding troughs may be of wood or metal and can be either permanently fixed or mobile. Provision will be needed also for the disposal of manure and slurry from the pens and storage in conditions which do not encourage the breeding of flies.

Floor arca: farrowing sows should each be allowed a floor space of 5.5-6.0 m2, weaners require (0.5-1 m2 of floor area each, fatteners and dry sows should each be provided with 1.1-1.4m2. A pen measuring 2.4 x 4.0m should be adequate to house a sow and her litter, 12 pork pigs or 3 breeding sows. A mature pig of about 90 kg would need at least 0.8 m? of floor space with an additional allowance of 25-30 cm for a feeding trough.

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DUCKS & TURKEYS (Feeding And Houseing)


The main requirement for housing with this system is the provision of a rudimentary pen in which mature animals can shelter from sun, rain or strong winds.

This may be a half-covered shelter of concrete block or mud walls, with either galvanised iron sheeting or thatch as a roofing material. Some form of litter should be provided if young pigs are being kept in these conditions and fattening pigs should be raised in more controlled conditions, in buildings similar to those used with the intensive system.


The housing requirements are similar to those outlined for the semi-intensive system, although no special arrangements are normally made for fattening pigs. This system requires a fairly high degree of skilled supervision if it is to be efficiently operated.


Most pig foods in West Africa are non-fibrous in nature and are made up from cereal grains, tubers and green vegetable material. The protein and mineral content of these feeds generally needs to be supplemented to ensure that the rate of growth can be satisfactorily maintained. Pigs grow at a rapid rate, their requirements for food are correspondingly high and the cost of feeding often represents a high percentage of the total production costs. For example, a newly born pig will gain in weight 12 times more rapidly than a calf, within a period of 18 months.


PIGS can eat many types of food but cannot digest too much fibrous material; the following are the main sources of carbohydrate foods used in West Africa.

MAIZE is low in protein and some necessary amino acids. Excessive feeding on maize is likely to produce too much fat. Maize should be crushed or ground for mixing with other foods, preferably those with a good protein content.

SORGHUM AND MILLET are similar in food value to maize and should not be given as more than 40-50% of the main ration. Both cereals should be ground before feeding.

RICE BRAN AND BROKEN RICE should not be fed to piglets and should not exceed 30% of the total ration for adult pigs. They contain a useful content of protein as well as carbohydrate.

CASSAVA The peelings of the root, after cooking, are a useful pig food but 4 times as much fresh cassava is needed to provide an equivalent feeding value of maize meal. Dried cassava roots or flour are equivalent in food value to ground maize.

YAMS Both peelings and roots have a similar value to cassava and produce a good quality fat.

SWEET POTATO Older pigs can be fed on raw tubers but these cannot be digested by young piglets. The leaves and stems of sweet potato provide a useful source of minerals and vitamins.

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FISH RESIDUES These are rich in protein and should be used when available.

MILK Almost any form of milk is a useful addition to maize or cassava meal in fattening rations.

OIL CAKE residues These are valuable as sources of protein and residues from groundnut, oil palm and cotton seed extraction plants are often included in livestock rations prepared for commercial pig units.

FRESH VEGETABLE FEED Adult pigs may require up to 4-5 kg of some form of vegetable material per day. Some of this may be obtained from grazing but the following are often used to provide the vitamins,  minerals, vegetable protein and carbohydrate required by pigs kept in pens.

GRASSES ELEPHANT AND GUINEA grass in either the fresh state or dried and chopped.

BANANA RIPE OR OVER-RIPE BANANAS are preferable to green fruits; 1 kg of over-ripe fruit is approximately equal in feeding value to 0.3 kg of maize meal.

Other waste fruits such as TOMATO, PAWPAW and PINEAPPLE peelings may also be used for feeding to adult pigs, but only in small quantities.

The food requirements of pigs vary with age and the following are the approximate requirements.

YOUNG PIGLETS  (creep feeding): 20-25% crude protein, mainly animal protein, with high mineral and vitamin content but low in fibrous material.

PIGS WEIGHING 22–45 kg: a maximum of 17% crude protein but with a low fibre content.

PIGS WEIGHING 45-90 kg: a crude protein content of about 13%.

ADULT BREEDING ANIMALS: a ration containing a high.

level of plant protein, vitamins and minerals but of a fairly coarse texture.

BREEDING SOWS: They should be fed on a ration of about 2.9 kg of meal daily, with added vitamin A, to about 5weeks before farrowing; after this the ration should be increased. After farrowing, a sow weighing about 300 kg with 8 piglets should receive up to 6.4 kg of meal per day but, once the piglets begin to eat solid food, this can be reduced to about 4.6 kg per day, depending on the weight of the sow.

In general terms, a healthy pig should gain 0.45 kg in bodyweight for every 1.6 kg of food consumed and should produce 9.1 kg of carcass weight for every 45.4 kg of feed.


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