How A Couple Runs a 2,900 Pig Empire
When Michael decided to buy some small piece of land in Meru county, specifically Buuri Constituency, the accountant also a lawyer did not ever imagine that this dry area would be profitable the way it’s is presently.
The lawyer has been buying the land in small bits; in 2013 it was 22 acres. The idea was to start a profitable business that is beneficial to his neighbor’s too.
His wife runs a college in Town, the Amboseli Institute which is in Thika town, and the couple initially started planting onions which was then very profitable.
This piece of land was shrub filled and the couple had to figure out what they will plant this virgin land.
Onion farming was a big loss. Most farmers had embraced this craze and the market experienced a big glut that lasted for almost two seasons.
The couple had to make a decision and their eyes were set on pig farming, from their own research they figured out that demand for proteins will soar.
Other farming options such as cattle and goats were not viable since grazing fields were diminishing. Secondly bacon and pork meat market was ready.
By 2014, the couple purchased 30 gilts and opted to rear them on their farm.
The couple then added 20 more. Their breed grew rapidly to over 220 pigs. Since then there are over 10 blocks, where each block is holding more than 26 pens. Each pen has dozens animals. All this is done in just 5 acres.
In his farm which he calls Daiichi Farm there are over 2,900 Landrace, Large white and Duroc pig Breeds. This couple says that proper hygiene, quality feeds, effective management practices and also highly trained personnel have a big contributor to overall enterprise success.
His farm Manager is a graduate with livestock Management degree ,other employees have Diplomas in Animals management.
Daiichi Farm has employed over 35 employees and also employs extra casuals. These permanent workers live on the Daiichi Farm.
The couples say they faced lots of problems mostly on getting quality feeds at the beginning.
“We purchased very expensive bogus feeds that had lots of effects on our pigs. Some companies sells these poor feeds to make quick profits from farmers.
The couple opted to make their own feeds. To do so they were assisted by Urban Farmer. This is a South Africa based company, but they have a local branch.
This company has nutritionist who is on the ground to provide important tips on the best formulation.
This farm produces lactating sow, starter, finisher,grower and dry sow.
For new born we feed them with mothers colostrum up to when they get 10 days. After that we introduce starter feeds, these starters contains nutrients and energy concentration. Later other feeds are given as they get older.
The piglets stay close to their mother’s upto 35 days old. From there weaning starts, when at 90 days, we give grower feeds.
“In this farm 6.6 tonnes of feeds are made, our animals consumes only 4.6 tonnes”, the couple says.
Michael says that we give feeds in the morning, also at noon and also in the late evening, most pigs eat 3 kilos of feeds daily.
Sometimes we feed them periodically, some piglets have erratic behavior.
Some pigs starts scouring when they are week old. The couple says that they use injectable antibiotics. Sanitation is always a must.
Availability of water is a must; animals must be trained to take water from the spouts that are mounted directly on the wall. Feeds that are fed should be free from disease causing organism.
Once properly fed such meat will be safe to humans and animals will also be safe to others.
Joseph, the licensed vet notes that Africa Swine fever is the most dangerous pigs disease. It wipes the full drove. There is no well-known vaccine but biosecurity measures will reduce this viral disease.
Transport is another challenge this Daiichi farm has been experiencing, but most butcheries have been ordering these pigs daily and also farmer’s choice have been buying from the farm.
The couple says they dug boreholes since water was a big challenge by then.
“ We have intentionally decided to implement biosecurity measures that ensures that our pigs are not attacked”, We restrict visits from other farms.
Piglets after birth are clipped to avoid hurting each other and also to their mothers.
We also dock their tails to ensure quick growth. In day 3 we do iron injections that protect pigs from anemic and help in bones growth.
‘Castration is after 21 days,” Michael says
We are in the process of starting value addition.so far we are making good profits.
The couple advices farmers that pig farming is very profitable and the demand is expected to soar.