Feed formulation is not easy especially for small-scale farmers due to lack of raw materials and the technical knowhow on feed formulation. For farmers keeping a few pigs, we would advise that they buy feeds from reputable companies who are known to make quality feeds. However such farmers can reduce their feed costs considerably if they can formulate supplementary feeds e.g. sweet potato vines. However, for farmers who want to rear more pigs, say, between 500 to 1000 pigs, it makes economic sense to make their own feeds as long as they can get the right raw materials for feed formulation. Below we give farmers two methods they can use to make pig feed in order to reduce their feed costs:
Making silage from sweet potato vines
Sweet potato vines are a very nutritious pig feed if well prepared and preserved. Here is how to prepare them:
- Cut 60-100kg of sweet potato vines and spread them dry in the sun for about 30 minutes.
- Chop the vines into tiny pieces and mix them with 10 kg of maize germ or pig growers mash.
- Sprinkle ½ kg of mineral salt and mix thoroughly.
- Put the mixture into an airtight 250-litre plastic tank. Compress the vines firmly to remove any airspace as you do when preparing silage.
- Add some little EM1 and some molasses solution to improve the quality of the silage.
- Cover the tank airtight. Let it stay for at least 3 weeks.
- Open the tank to check if the silage is ready- if the silage has a sweet smell and has turned yellow in colour, then it is ready for feeding.
- You can feed the sweet potato silage to pigs from four months of age, sows, gilts and boars at any time before or after feeding their usual daily rations.
Add vegetable and fruits
Pig farmers who incorporate sweet potato silage into the pig diet can cut their feed costs by up to 30 per cent. In addition the sweet potato tubers can be eaten or sold in the market, a kilogramme of sweet potato tuber retails for between KSh 60 to KSh 80. Farmers can also supplement their pig diet with fruits and vegetables such as Sukumawiki (kales), spinach, cabbages, lucerne, amaranth (terere), avocadoes, pawpaws, bananas. Food leftover from hotels (also called swill) can be fed to pigs but farmers have to be extra cautious because such feed may be contaminated and can cause infection to pigs. All leftover food should be reboiled thoroughly to ensure all disease-causing organisms are destroyed.
How to prepare one bag of pig feed
48kg of maize germ
12kg of wheat pollard
12.5kg of soya cake
7.5kg of fishmeal
0.75kg of lime
1kg of bonemeal
125g of salt
150g of lysine
150g of feed premix
300g of zinc
This pig feed ration has a Digestible Crude Protein (DCP) content of 22.3 %and can be given to pigs at all stages of growth. Put all the ingredients in a feed mixer and mix thoroughly to ensure they are evenly distributed. In Nakuru, Nairobi and Thika, there are many feed raw material suppliers. Feed premix, lysine, bonemeal and lime are also available from selected agrovet shops in most towns. A major raw material supplier is Tarime Suppliers Tel. 0729 099 550, Nairobi.