Most of the pig meat can be used as fresh meat for re-sale.
A whole suckling pig can be used and are usually sold between the ages of two
to six weeks.  Pork is the most common ingredient in many kinds of
sausages. Ham and bacon are made from fresh pork which has been salted and/or
smoked.

 
The pigs’ shoulders and legs are most commonly cured for picnic
shoulder and ham. Bacon is taken from the sides of the pig.
 
Additionally, pigs can be used for an array of products,
such as:
  1. Pig skin: Pig skin can be used for safety gloves, collagen in energy
    bars and plastic surgery, low-fat butter, chewing gum, x-ray films, drug
    capsules, bread (the flour improver is made from their hair). The skin can
    also be used for practising of tattoo art as well as used to simulate
    human flesh when testing bullets.
  2. Internal
    organs:
     The pig’s internal organs are used for pet food,
    tambourine skin (bladder), heart valves (surgery), surgical anticoagulant
    (stomach mucus) as well as insulin (pancreas).
  3. Pig Bones: Can be used for: Refining cadmium, bone china, inexpensive
    wine corks, stabilising the propellant in bullet making, inkjet paper,
    fabric softener, concrete, match heads, train brakes, yogurt, beer, wine
    and don’t forget ice-cream.
  4. Pig fat: The fat from pigs bodies are used for biodiesel, soap,
    shampoos and crayons
  5. Pig blood: Can be used for: cigarette filters, colourants in some
    types of ham, aluminium ingot moulds, fish foods as well as toothpaste.
  6. Bristles and ears: Some paint brushes are made from pig bristles and pig
    ears are used for chemical weapons testing.
Buying your first pig
Pigs bought from a farm that has good quality animals and a
high standard of management and hygiene are a good investment. The boar you’re
buying should come with complete records. From these you will be able to see
the boars’ performance as well as his parents’ performances.
 
You should probably take someone with experience and
knowledge in this field with when buying pigs for the first time. There are
also regulations for moving pigs that you’ll need to comply with.
 
Some advice
Rather pay more for a good pig than less for a lesser pig
that might die or doesn’t perform well. Examine the pig carefully to ensure
you’re purchasing a good quality animal.
 
Asking the seller questions such as:
  • How old is the pig?
  • Has it ever been sick?
  • Has it received vaccinations? If yes, for which diseases?
  • Has it received treatment for parasites?
  • If it’s an adult pig, has it ever bred?
  • Why is the seller selling the pig?
You should study the animal when it’s lying down:
  • Does the pig look comfortable and relaxed?
  • Is it breathing regularly? It should not be wheezing or gasping. If the belly of
    the pig contracts when it breathes this means it is battling to breath.
    Only the chest should be rising and falling.
  • Observe the pigs’ reactions. When you clap your hands, shout or whistle loudly a
    healthy pig should react by looking at you.
Study the animal when it’s standing up:
  • Is it too fat or too thin? If you can see the hips, shoulders, ribs or backbone
    under the skin, the pig is too thin.  If it has rolls of fat around
    its neck it’s too fat.
  • If the pig is too fat this can cause it to develop leg and foot problems as well
    as the possibility of not breeding well.
From the overall appearance:
  • Is the back straight?
  • Is the coat glossy?
  • Does the pigs’ skin look healthy and clean?
  • Does the pig have any swellings on the head, body or limbs?
  • Are their legs strong and straight?
  • Does the pig walk normally?
You should specifically watch for:
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Itching
    – This you can see if the animal rubs against objects for prolonged
    periods of time.
  • Diarrhoea
    – This can be seen by soft or watery dung
  • Constipation
    – This you can see if there are small, dry and hard droppings.
The South African Pork Producers’ Association  gives
us three basic steps to consider when purchasing pigs:
  1. What breed will best suit your farm
  2. Don’t buy other people’s problems
  3. Plan a breeding program which will match your resources. 
Pig breeds to consider
There are four pig breeds in Africa namely the:
  1. Large
    White: 
    This is a particularly large animal. It is lean and
    active. It can adapt to most climates. This type of pig has a long,
    productive life in the breeding pen. It produces good quality bacon and
    pork. It also has the ability to cross with and improve other pig breeds
    which has made it quite popular.
  2. SA
    Landrace:
     An indigenous and locally produced breed. This means it
    can survive on both marginal and high potential grazing also that it is
    disease and heat tolerant. It is popular among non-commercial producers
    who slaughter mainly for domestic consumption.
  3. Duroc: Originated
    form the eastern U.S, one of the recognising characteristic is its drooping
    ears. Because it has a high ratio of marbling fat to carcass fat, its meat
    is juicy and tender.
  4. Kolbroek: Is
    an indigenous breed that’s smaller than most modern pig breeds. This type
    of breed has sturdier legs, stronger feet and is extremely hardy. The
    Kolbroek is known as a good forager and efficient converter of
    high-roughage rations
Raising pigs
Your boars need to be raised differently to your sows. They
have different healthy weight requirements as well as different age groups of
productivity. Their health and the success of the breeding program will have a
lot to do you. How well you’ve planned along with how well you’ve keep records
of previous partnerships and pervious serving dates.
Boars
A heathy boar should weigh 90kgs before he is 140 days old.
He will require a maximum of 3kg of feed to gain 1kg in weight. Buy boars at
least four weeks before putting them to the sow for the first time. This will
allow you to keep them quarantined and will give the boar a chance to adapt to
his new environment and become comfortable.
 
Breeding
 There are a few tips to prevent boars from hurting
themselves or the sow the first time they serve. The boar should be at least
eight months old and the same size as the sow. A smaller sow and not a gilt (a
young female) should be used for “training”. 
 
The boar should serve the sow in
his own pen. By removing any obstructions from the pen and ensuring that the
floor is not slippery, you can save both your boar and sow from potential
injury.
 
With 20 breeding sows you should have at the very least two
boars. The younger boar will be to serve the gilts that come on heat for the
first time and a mature boar to serve the older, heavier sows.  If at all
possible it is advisable to have a spare boar available.
 
Keeping a record of when which boar served which sow as well
as how many sows have been served can be very beneficial. By doing this you can
cull boars that are infertile or produce small litters. On average boars have a
working life of a maximum 18 to 24 months old. This means they ought to be
replaced when they are 30 to 36 months old.
 
Sows
Healthy gilts should have legs which are strong and straight
as well as even-sized claws. They should have a well-formed vulva and six
well-shaped, noticeable teats on either side of their belly. The teats should
start well forward and be evenly spaced to allow for piglets to have adequate
suckling space.
 
Always have enough gilts to keep your breeding programme
going. If you need to you can always buy extra animals, when doing this try to
buy from the same farm your boars came from so that the owner can give you some
advice on your breeding programme.
 
Breeding
Gilts should be between five to six months old before
breeding. Pigs that are not chosen can be sold as baconers at a live weight of
around 90kg. 
 
You should nurture your breeding gilts until they weigh between
120kg and 130 kg, which should be between seven and eight months. Then they are
ready to be served by the boar for the first time. In order to produce large
litters (8 – 10 or more healthy piglets) the gilts have to be in good
condition.
 
Reasons to remove sows from your herd:
  • Failure
    to conceive
  • Not
    coming on heat
  • Abortions
  • Lameness
  • Small
    litters
  • Old
    age
  • Lack
    of milk.
Once you’ve removed the sow, don’t try to make them larger
by feeding them more. The sows’ udders need to return to normal after weaning
before sending her to the abattoir. You can then bring in a replacement gilt.
 
With successful sows that farrow regularly, rear large
litters and are problem and disease free, they should be allowed to rear six to
more litters before culling.
 
Pig feed
If your pigs are fed properly they’ll be heathy, grow well
and produce good quality pork. This will increase your profits. The various
groups of pigs should be fed differently and in different quantities. These
groups include:
  1. Boars
    and pregnant sows
  2. Sows
    with piglets
  3. Pigs
    three to ten weeks old
  4. Pigs
    weighing 60kg to 90 kg, who are up to slaughter.
The digestible energy, protein and vitamins and minerals
should be at the right quantities for each group to ensure proper health. Feed
mixture can be bought or mixed on your farm. It is cost-effective to mix the
feed yourself but please consult an expert before attempting this yourself.
Consult an expert in pig nutrition before altering the feed or the quantities
used in a mix.
 
There should always be fresh and clean water available. Also
feed and water should be kept as far apart as possible in order to keep the
feed dry.



 
Costs involved in a pig business
The amount of piglets your sows produce will affect the
amount of profit you make. To ensure they produce the maximum number of piglets
and that the piglets are marketed as soon as possible you will need:
  • Housing
    which allows your pigs to be reared efficiently and comfortably.
    Preferably well-maintained clean housing
  •  Simplify
    disease control as much as possible by making sure conditions on your farm
    are clean and precautionary measures are in place.
  • Pigs
    which are highly productive breeding animals, grow well and use their feed
    efficiently are more likely to produce carcasses with low fat and can
    produce 20 or more piglets yearly.
Assets you will need when starting your pig farm:
  • Land
  • A
    room where the feed can be mixed and stored. Equipment can also be stored
    there.
  • Housing
    for the farmer and workers, if this is needed.
  • Pig
    housing
  • Water
    facilities which includes: pumps, pipes, taps, drinking nipples, reservoirs
    and boreholes if this is needed.
  • Self-feeders
  • Feed
    scale
  • Fencing
    and gate
  • Roads.
Key movable assets you will need for your pig farm:
  • Trucks
    for transportation of pigs and feed
  • Ten
    to twenty pregnant gilts between ten and twelve months
  • Two
    to three boars between eight and twelve months.
Remember that your first pig will only be sold eleven months
after you’ve bought your first pigs. You should have enough savings to cover
all your costs until you can start selling your pigs.
Feed is the biggest cost for a pig farm. Keeping the costs
as low as possible is imperative to survival. You will need to:
  • All
    your feed  mixtures should be well-balanced for the different groups
  • Try
    not to waste any feed
  • Mixing
    your own feed is cheaper
  • Choose
    cost-effective ingredients for the feed.
Other costs involved in pig farming are:
  • Labour
  • Transport
  • Fuel
  • Veterinary
    Bills
  • Medication
  • Slaughter
    fees
  • Repairs
    and maintenance of fences, buildings and vehicles
  • Additional
    animals.