Categories: Articles, ZambiaPublished On: 24th January 2022

Pig production – how to make it profitable

By 5 min read


by Barbara M Simbaya, Tiger Animal Feeds Technical Advisor

The profitability of pig farming varies depending on the farmer’s target outcome. One may earn a profit from selling live pigs either for breeding or for meat, or by selling manure as fertiliser.

However, most of the profitability of pig production hinges on one’s ability to quickly access markets for the products and how well pigs are managed. Therefore, this article looks at two vital factors: market research, and good management.

Market research

Good market research involves understanding the demand for pork, learning about your customers, competitors, the pork industry market price and the market forecast. This research is essential in giving your business direction and providing your customers with exactly what they need, when they need it.

In conducting research, you need to ask the right questions, in the right way, to the right people. Good research findings should be used to align your business objectives and goals with steps for executing them well.

Prepare farrowing pens with extra care because newborns are more susceptible to diseases than older pigs.

Good pig management

Pigs are kept to produce pork and bacon. Most breeds, if managed and fed effectively, will produce good quality pork and bacon. Tiger Animal Feeds has the best pig feed for the best performance. However, the major constraints to production include diseases, parasites, poor breeding, capital investment, inadequate advisory services, inadequate research, lack of organised marketing, lack of processing plants, and poor product quality. Contact the Tiger Animal Feeds Technical Team for advice and avoid these issues.

Tiger Animal Feeds produces
feeds specifically formulated for
achieving optimum results for all
classes of pigs.

Selecting pigs for breeding

Select good gilts (a female under the age of one year) from sows of a superior breed that wean 9 to 10 piglets per litter and that are known to be good mothers from a good breed.

• Selected gilts should have at least 12 to 14 teats so that a large litter can be easily nursed.

• Gilts should be healthy with strong legs and well-developed body and thigh muscles.

• Beginners in pig farming are advised to start with one or two gilts/sows and progress as more experience and skill is gained.


Reproduction is the key factor for profitability in the pig industry because the number of pigs weaned per sow annually is essen­tial for profitability. Pigs weaned per sow depend on the total number of pigs born per litter.

For breeding man­agement, knowledge of reproduc­tion is essential for better results.


This is the time at which males and females attain sexual maturity (called estrous in females). The age at which gilts reach puberty is from  8 to 10 months.

Several fac­tors affect sexual maturity such as breed, nutrition, season, and body condition. This should be taken into consideration before embarking into production.

Estrus (heat) detection

To recognise estrus, farmers must be observant and have a complete understanding of the female cyclic behaviour. Don’t try to detect heat at feeding time or in the presence of other people. You may use a teaser boar to detect heat.

Table 1: Composition of pig feeds.

Estrus signs

  • In gilts, the vulva swells, but not consistently in sows.
  • The vulva becomes congested or red.
  • Females become nervous and easily disturbed.
  • They stand for mounting.
  • They have a rigidity in response to pressure on the back.
  • They exhibit increased vocalisation.
  • Erect ears are observed.
  • Females have an alert attitude.
  • They have a decreased appetite.

Sanitation (keeping your piglets alive)

Clean the pens daily by removing the manure from all pens to reduce the chances of transferring diseases. If diseases break out and spread in pens, you can lose animals or spend large sums of money on medication to treat infections.

Thoroughly scrub the pens with water and a brush. Prepare farrowing pens with extra care because newborns are more susceptible to diseases than older pigs.

One of the most important steps in reducing mortality in pigs is to provide the newborn pigs with an optimal environment. Make sure that you routinely give piglets an iron injection at day three, dock their tails and clip their teeth. Remember, piglets are the main raw materials for your business.


Various age groups have different nutrient requirements. Feed all the animals twice a day with the required amount of feed according to their age and stage. Also provide them with free access to fresh water.

Tiger Animal Feeds produces feeds that are specifically formulated for achieving optimum results across all classes of pigs.

These feeds include:

•Piglet creep meal or crumble: 1 to 5 weeks, 2 kg per pig.

•Pig weaner: 5 to 12 weeks, 54 kg per pig.

•Pig grower pellet or meal: Intake 12 to 16 weeks, 49 kg per pig.

•Pig finisher pellet or meal: Intake 17 to 22 weeks, 88 kg per pig.

It is important for the pig farmer to maintain good management practices. This ensures that the pigs grow quickly and free of diseases. Remember, taking good care of the pigs helps make pig production profitable — good quality products always fetch more on the market!

To find out more about feed for your pig farm, contact Rowena Blanco on +260-96-7991-847 or +260-96-7790-404. Alternatively, send an e-mail to rowena@tiger­ or visit their website at


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