In this tutorial, I’ll be writing about Pig Farming Business in Nigeria.
My objective is to show you how you can get started with the pig business
If after reading this post you’re still interested in piggery, we can give you the opportunity to visit one of our associates’ farms for free practical training (on the farm).
You can even use one of our experienced pig farmers to set up your farm.
When you read to the end of this post, kindly scroll back and click here to meet with one of our farmers for any assistance.
We have our associates’ pig farms in Lagos, Ogun, Delta, Osun, Edo, and a few other states.
Now, let’s get started…
A Short Introduction to Pig Farming (for Beginners)
Pig farming is the process of raising and breeding domestic pigs (often for commercial purposes).
It’s a branch of animal husbandry which deals with getting the right piglets/weaners, building a conducive pen (pig house), taking care of the farrow and boar, managing the period of gestation, vaccination, and general management of a pig farm.
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates which include the domestic pig and its ancestor, the common Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) along with other species outside the genus including babirusa and the warthog.
Pig is a native of Eurasian and African continents (yes, our continent)
The juvenile pig (child pig) is known as a piglet.
A place where pigs are raised is known as a piggery or pig pen.
A normal pig will have a big head with a long snout which is strengthened by a special prenasal bone and by a disk of cartilage at the tip.
This snout is what pig use to dig into the soil (if you let them roam around) to find food and is a very acute sense organ.
Pig is very popular as there were 784.2 million pigs around the world as of April 2022 with China having more than half of them.
We (in Nigeria) have millions of pigs too, with the biggest pig farm in Nigeria (maybe in the whole of West Africa) in Oke Aro, Ogun State.
Ok, without wasting your time, I’ll explain the 9 simple steps you can follow to start and succeed in the pig business.
9 Steps to Start Profitable Pig Farming in Nigeria
- Determine the size of your intended pig farm
- Research pig market in your state/city
- Hire an experienced pig farmer to build your pen
- Get healthy piglets
- Understand pig vaccines and vaccinations
- Understand pigs’ diseases and cure
- Understand pigs’ feed
- Start small to gain experience
- Get practical training so you won’t make mistakes and lose your investment
Now, I’ll explain all of the above in detail but if after you finish this post you have some questions, you can easily meet one of our farmers, visit our nearby farm for practical training, or even get one of our guys to help you set up your farm (just click here)
#1. Determine the size of your intended pig farm.
The size of your intended farm will influence other decisions like; the pig pen (housing), the feeding budget, the labor, and even the target market and you have to start from here or else you’re embarking on a journey you can’t complete.
For instance, If you plan to have a little farm, you may want to use somewhere in your backyard as their pen.
Yes, pig pen could smell like mortuary (even though I’ve never been to a mortuary, I assume a part of it smells badly) but I can assure you that you can make your pig pen neat and odor free (more on this later)
But then, backyard farming won’t be possible for large commercial pig farming so it means you have a lot more expenses as regard buying a piece of land or renting some pens (more on this shortly).
Feeding, labor and all that depend on the size of your farm and you have to let your budget determine how big you can start (I’ll talk about cost analyses later).
#2. Research the pig market in your area.
Many people in the business world work hard to create products, then, start looking for the market (buyers).
That’s a big error because often what you discover is that the market reality is different from everything you’ve thought it would be.
For example, if you live in cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, etc. you might want to target big companies that process pigs into many other products (or byproducts).
As you probably know, pigs are a byproduct of many other products that we all use every day (I know some people believe they’re going to hell if they eat pigs, but I’m sorry, you’re eating pigs EVERY DAY).
I mean, the pig’s skin, bones, blood, fat, meat, internal organ, and hair are used for different products ranging from medicine, to household needs and entertainment
Insulin, matches, crayon, footballs, soaps, shampoo, toothpaste… yes… your toothpaste and many other products as discussed by Christien Meindertsma here contain pig.
Another thing a pig farmer may want to do is to process his pig on his farm (again, it depends on where your farm is located and who your target market is).
As you know, a pig can be processed into bacon, sausages, ribs, pork salami, pork pizza, ham, rinds/crackling, suya, etc. and some farmers do some of these (provided there’s a demand for them).
Another option would be to sell to the market women who then butcher and sell to the final consumers in our local markets.
Some other farmers could find their way into a partnership with big supermarket chains like Shoprite and Justrite and then sell whole pigs to them (these guys slaughter the pigs and sell them to their customers).
I mean, there is more than one thing a pig farmer can do with his pigs but your location will determine what’s possible which is why you should familiarize yourself with the pig market in your area..
#3. Build your pig pen correctly
This is possible because a pig pen has to be constructed in such a way as to provide safe housing for your pigs.
You don’t want (for example) the sun to hit your pigs several hours every day or that would lead to sunburn.
You don’t want birds and other unwanted insects to have free access to the pen or they’ll be a carrier of some pig diseases.
You also don’t want to expose your pigs to heat stress which may affect their growth, and fertility or even cause death (the reason being that pigs don’t sweat as humans do)
You want your water nipples, feeding trough, and plumbing work to be professionally done, or else it will tell on your pigs’ health and growth.
For example, to thermoregulate, pigs rely on wallowing in water or mud to cool their body. A pen wrongly designed might deny the pigs this unavoidable need hence, they struggle to live or grow.
You want to let the floor of your pen drain very well and not be clay or poorly draining floor.
This is because pigs have pointy hooves that bear much weight.
Clay soil may not cause many problems in a dry environment, but can quickly make life tough for your pigs when the environment is wet because it can cause injury, feed wastage, and can contribute to illness.
You want to use concrete pens because they alleviate the problem of mud/footing that can be caused by the clay or web floor, but also present their problems… they hold heat during hot months (this can easily be solved by providing enough water around the pen).
All of the above is the reason why extra thought has to be expanded on building your pig pen.
Now except you have some experience in building construction (civil engineering) and can speak with someone who has constructed a pig pen before, it’s always safe to contact an experienced person than to want to experiment and try things yourself (believe me, trial and errors could cost you millions of Naira)
(NOTE; You can even use our experienced pig farmers to help you set up your own pig-farming business, professionally. Click here)
#4. Get healthy piglets (weaners) for your pig farm
What will you consider before adopting a child?
Her health, her history, etc.
When planning to get your piglets, make sure you find out the best sources around you.
Let me tell you how to do this;
Ask the farmer for the parents of the pigs you want to buy.
Look at the parents and the environment the parents grew up in.
Ask the farmers who raised them many questions and pay attention to the farm environment.
For example, if you walk through many farm settlements in Nigeria, you’ll see a section for pig farmers then you can see how different farms are being run.
Some farms are extremely dirty (smelling like gutters) while some other farms are so neat you can eat there
You’ll see some pigs that are disgusting while some other pigs (from a different farmer) would be so neat you’ll want to play with them.
I’m not kidding, the picture you see at the beginning of this post is one of the pigs in our associate farm. you notice how beautiful it is?
Now tell me, how can you trust that the guy who hasn’t washed his pen for two weeks would have healthy piglets?
Or how can you be sure he ever vaccinates them or give them healthy feeds?.
#5. Understand Pigs’ Vaccines & Vaccination
Just as it’s in humans and other animal husbandry, piglets and pigs are administered with vaccines, to protect them from common pig diseases.
Pig Vaccines contain antigens from viruses, bacteria, bacterial toxins, or parasites. They are given to pigs, usually by injection, to stimulate an immune response that will protect the pigs against later natural infection with the organism from which the vaccine was derived.
Most pig vaccines stimulate both a humoral response and a cell-mediated response and are targeted at common pig diseases such as;
- Pseudorabies (also known as Aujeszky\’s disease)
- Atrophic rhinitis
- Swine erysipelas
- Swine dysentery
- Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS)
- Enzootic pneumonia
The Management of Vaccines
To effectively manage pig vaccines, the following steps have to be taken;
- Check the expiry date (very important).
- Store vaccines in a fridge (or cool place)
- Follow the instructions on the vaccine strictly (no be you make am, so respect what the maker asks you to do).
- Ideally use a fresh needle for each pig but change at least every 5 pigs.
- Do not mix vaccines or medicines (except you know what you’re doing).
- Dispose of needles in a sharps box.
- Clean out syringes immediately after use.
- Only use vaccines licensed in your country.
- Clean bottle tops before and after use.
If you’re a beginner, just rearing pigs for the first time, you’ll surely need the help of an experienced pig farmer or a veterinary doctor to help you in the area of vaccines and vaccination.
But it’s not rocket science.
After watching someone vaccinating pigs a few times, you’ll know how to do it yourself.
In fact, one of our farmers shows you how to vaccinate pigs in a video which you can get if you go through our practical training
#6. Understand pig diseases and their solution.
Vaccination is to prevent diseases.
But just as in humans, your pigs would still fall sick, break their legs, or need some medical examination now and then.
The best way to deal with this is to start with an experienced veterinary doctor or a farmer who has dealt with pigs for many years.
The first thing you want to master is the symptoms (because it’s the symptoms that determine what is wrong with your pigs and what you’ll tell a vet.).
Just as humans are advised to not self-medicate, it’s also good you don’t self-medicate for your pigs.
But (as in everything), the more you experience a particular ailment in your pig, the better understanding you’ll have about what it is and how to handle it
Below are some of the diseases piglets, hogs and pigs may encounter:
- Mulberry Heart Disease (vitamin E deficiency). Though vitamin E is widespread in feedstuffs including vegetable oil, cereals, and green plants, the usual problem with Mulberry Heart Disease occurs when farmers use some polyunsaturated fats diets which destroy the vitamins. Vitamin E is very important for the optimum function and metabolism of the nervous, muscular, circulatory, and immune systems.
- Abscesses:These are the pockets of pus that contain large numbers of bacteria that enter the body through damage to the skin.
- The Bacterium Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (APP). Never mind if your teeth cannot pronounce any of these terms very well, your veterinary doctor understands better.
The truth is, tens and more diseases can attack the herd (a group of pigs) or individual pigs, and you as a pig farmer have to be prepared;
Mycotoxicosis, Agalactia, Navel Bleeding, Endometritis, Retroviruses, Erysipelas, Anaemia, Anthrax, Arthritis (joint infections), Oedema Disease, Atrophic Rhinitis (AR), Osteoporosis, Biotin Deficiency, Penis Bleeding, Brucellosis, Cystic Ovaries, Rabies, Peritonitis, Botulism, Pale pig syndrome, Blue Eye Disease, and probably 100 more.
I never intend to disturb you with all this jargon. I never intend to scare you away from pig farming either.
The truth is, many of the diseases above may just be what we should have called “headache” or “stomachache”.
Don’t be wary of their big names. Your veterinary doctor (or even an experienced pig farmer) will not see them as threats.
#7. Understand pig feed.
When it comes to how much human beings eat, it’s vary, depending on many factors… your age, your sex (most men eat more than women), the nature of your work, or whether you exercise or not.
So it is with your piglets and pigs.
Some people suggest feeding your pigs twice a day. While this may be good advice for your boar or a sow, it’s a piece of terrible advice for your weaners.
This is common sense, isn’t it?
I eat two proper meals and some snacks per day but my two-year-old boy eats probably 76 times a day (you know I’m exaggerating, but you get the point).
Your piglets and weaners would eat multiple times a day (for example, our Ikorodu associate farm feeds weaners about 4 or more times a day) while adult pigs would eat fewer times.
As a matter of supposition, piglets can be expected to eat 1lb of pig pellets per day for every month of their age, 2lb of pig pellets at two months, 3 lb. of pellets at three months, 4lb at four months,
Then after four months, 4lb a day should be sufficient.
Young pigs need a diet high in proteins and amino acids so that they can grow fast and proportionately more muscle tissue, so there should be more lysine in feed for younger pigs.
As your pig grows, however, the ratio of protein to carbohydrate in their food has to be reduced (gradually)
Also, too much lysine in the diet can be detrimental to growth in heavier female pigs.
The feed you’re able to formulate for your pigs would be determined by where you live.
Just as human foods change from one geographical location to another, pig food is the same.
For example, if you live in southwest Nigeria and someone else lives in the East, both of you could be giving entirely different meals to your pigs and they would be ok.
This is because some feed materials are surplus in certain regions but scarce elsewhere.
#8. Start small.
Rearing pigs requires learning curves and every beginner needs to take his/her time.
As with most things, walking slowly is the best strategy on the road you’re not familiar with.
If you’ve never reared pigs before, be sure there are many things you don’t know about pigs and their ways of life, pigs’ diseases & sicknesses, and their growth rate.
“Start small” may be the best advice I need to give you… especially when you don’t know anything about pig farming and you don’t have a partner who does or an experienced consultant who can hold you by the hand.
(If you want to start a large-scale pig farm then you’ll need an experienced farmer to guide you)
#9. Get practical pig farming training.
Starting a pig farm as a beginner requires that you learn how the industry works, including how to make your pig farm successful.
My advice for you is to do all you can to get practical training (on a pig farm) or employ an experienced pig farmer.
Don’t ever try to go to a battlefield without weapons.
If you know any piggery around you, visit there and have an experienced pig farmer train you or act as your pig farming consultant.
If you cannot find such in your environment, you can click here to contact us.
We’ll give you the opportunity to visit our associate pig farm for free practical training.
One of our farmers can also help you set up your farm and teach you how to formulate feeds.
Other Questions You Might Want to Ask;
How Lucrative is Pig Farming in Nigeria?
I mean, the whole world slaughter about 1.5 Billion pigs every year, according to the 2014 World Economic Forum statistic.
Nigeria’s Pork consumption per capita was at 1.50 kg in 2019 with an estimated 280,000 tonnes of pork consumed in Nigeria alone in the last decade.
Nigeria and Ghana together spend $3 Billion on Pork, according to the Chief Operating Officer of PorkMoney, Mrs. Linda Obi
But there’s a problem…
Even though there are billions of dollars flowing around in the piggery industry, that doesn’t mean that that money is freely available for everyone.
For example, the whole world eats a gazillion of salt every day and drinks billions of liters of water.
Yes, several billion are spent on these important commodities but that doesn’t mean you have a million dollars waiting for you there.
You see, I’ve seen many people write articles online to say, “Pig farming WILL make you a millionaire”, “Pig business is the most profitable livestock farming”, or “If you invest N1m in piggery you’ll get N10m in one year” etc…
Well, I’ve spent about two decades of my life starting and running businesses and I know such claims are deceptive.
Let me tell you the truth…
You see, millions of people are running profitable pig farms and millions have sold their clothes trying to do the same.
The reason is that every business enterprise is a competition (a battle if you like to call it that).
Regardless of how much money there’s in any industry, there are also millions of people running after that money so at the end of the day, your ability to run a business effectively, be creative, and manage cost is what determines how much money you’ll make.
The smartest way to manage costs in the pig business is to make your own feed (one of our farmers can teach you how to do that).
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Pig Farm in Nigeria
I know one of the questions you might want to ask is, “How much do I need to start a pig farm?”
First, you have to decide maybe you’re starting a small-scale pig farm or a big commercial pig business.
This decision will certainly influence your planning and cost.
If you’re starting a backyard piggery, that may not require you to build a complex piggery or pig pen and you can manage every other expense along the line (i.e pigs eat much of our food waste)
However, if you’re starting a commercial-size pig/pork production, you may need some plots of land for the pig farm or rent a few pens (pig pens are available for rent in many Nigerian cities).
Again, making a list of prices on the internet is what I personally hate to do.
The reason is very simple…
You think about it.
Some of the information you’re consuming about the pig business on the internet was published 7-10 years ago.
So many people will take this information (including cost analyses) as gospel truth, not knowing that it was only true 7 years ago.
For example, I read a blog post where a man wrote that a piglet is sold for N3,000.
While this may be true when he wrote the blog post, at the time of writing these words, it’s catastrophically misleading.
Many other people write prices of feeds, cement, and building materials online.
I find this crazy because, in Nigeria, even last month’s price isn’t making sense today.
So, what I advise you to do if you seriously need to know the cost of starting a pig farm is to meet a farmer who can give you the prices (as they are…. TODAY).
If you contact our company, we MAY be able to help you.
The reason why I said MAY is because as of the time I’m writing this, the cost analyses we have in a PDF were prepared several months ago and I can only send that to my enemies (I think you’re my friend)
But maybe I can get one of our farmers to work on current cost analyses which can help you (so you can contact us)
Pig Farming Equipment
When it comes to equipment, there are not many things you have to worry about in the piggery business.
After your pig pen is ready, and the water and feeding trough is ready, you may need a few other things like bows to serve pig feed, a cool place to keep your vaccines, etc.
Some pig farming terminologies you may want to know
Since you’re a beginner in the pig business, you may soon be near some people who have been in this business for a long time. They may not be aware of your newness in this line.
I think you should be aware of the following pig farming terminologies:
- Pig, hog, or swine: the species as a whole
- Piglet or Shoat: unweaned young pig
- Boar or hog: male pig of breeding age
- Barrow: castrated male pig before puberty
- Stag: male pig, castrated later in life
- Gilt: young female not yet mated, or not yet farrowed
- Sow: breeding female
- Pork: the meat of the pig
- Herd: a group of pigs or all the pigs on a farm
- Farrowing: when pigs are giving birth
- Sty: a small pig-house
- Pig-shed: a larger pig-house
Thanks for reading.
If you have any questions, want to know more about pig business or undergo our practical training in one of our associates\’ farms or even get one of our experienced farmers to help you set up your farm,