A study of factors influencing pig health, productivity, and economics of interventions in smallholder pig farms in Kikuyu division, Kiambu district, Kenya
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In Kenya information on factors that limit optimal health and productivity in smallholder pig herds is lacking. The objectives of this study were therefore to: I. Describe the herd -level characteristics and the farmers' perception of pig production constraints: 2. Determine baseline pig health and productivity parameters: 3. Determine the herd-level factors associated with pig health and productivity: 4. Evaluate the relative cost-effectiveness of alternative health interventions against priority disease constraints. Five administrative locations in a peri-urban Kikuyu Division. Kiambu District. were purposively selected for the three-phase study The first phase was a crosssectional study in which 87 herds were randomly selected and visited once in 1998 Farm-level constraints to production data were collected using semi-closed survey questionnaires. The second phase was a longitudinal study where 76 herds that previously participated in the first phase were visited once a month in 1999 for 11 months. Health and productivity data were recorded in specific record cards. During the visits. pigs up to 40 kg were weighed and faecal samples for faecal egg counts and earwax tor mite detection were taken once. The third phase was a longitudinal intervention study where 40 herds that previously participated in the second phase were randomly allocated to 3 treatments and I control group. Various treatments against helminths and sarcoptic mange were administered to the different pig groups. The herds were visited on days, 0, 7, 14, 28, 68, and 96. Faecal samples tor faecal egg count and ear wax for mite detection were taken before the treatment and during subsequent visits. Descriptive statistics, tests of associations, binary logistic regression and costeffectiveness analysis were performed on the data. All farmers cited 'source of income' as the reason for keeping pigs. Majority (78%) did not seek for any extension information and depended on family labour (90%) for pig production. The production constraints identified by the farmers were high cost of feeds that w,ere of variable qualities, lack of credit, lack of genetically quality breeding boars, poor marketing and diseases. Sarcoptic mange, helminthosis, diarrhoea and pneumonia were highly ranked. Pigs were kept indoors. Concrete, wooden and dirt floors were found in 66.7%, 24.1 ~/o and 9.2% of the herds respectively. Bedding, especially in the farrowing area, was used in 90.8% of the herds. Guard rails/piglet protection devices were present in 22% of the herds. Few (8%) farmers disinfected pig pens. Thirty three percent of farmers kept some written records on husbandry practices and production. None of the farmers reported use of vaccination against pig diseases. Majority (83.9%) of the farmers controlled mange and helminths (96%). Farmers controlled mange by use of acaricides (50%), used engine oil (37%) and a combination of the two (12%). All the farmers used anthelmintics to manage helminthosis. All farmers practised restricted feeding and fed their pigs on commercial feed (69%), swill (26%), self-formulated feeds (1%), forage (4%) and creep feed (92%). The production systems employed by the farmers were, farrow- to- finish (68%), farrow-to-weaner (16%) and feeder operation (5%). Majority (87%) of the XXII farmers weaned the piglets at the age of 2 months. All the farmers practised natural mating but, majority (59.8%) did not keep a boar. Overall, the preweaning crude morbidity cumulative incidence was 29%. The common diseases were pruritus (17.1 %), skin necrosis (3~/o)and diarrhoea (2.5%). The crude mortality was] 8.7% with the highest mortality occurring during the first week postpartum mainly due to overlying (9.9%). The average daily weight gain (AD\VG) achieved by the piglets was 0.13 kg/day. Preweaning piglet morbidity was not (p>0.05) associated with the herd-level factors investigated. Herds where sows were supplemented with protein rich feeds had reduced odds (OR=0.03) of having a low piglet mortality. Supplementation of sows with protein rich teeds was associated (OR=15) with a higher ADWG in piglets. The grower crude morbidity cumulative incidence was 20% with the most common diseases being pruritus (21.1 %), unknown causes (2.3%) and gut oedema 0.3%) The crude mortality was 3.8%>with the most important causes being unknown causes (1.6%) and gut oedema (1.3%) The grower average weight age ratio was 5.2 kg/month of age and the ADWG was 0 16 kg/day. The grower morbidity was not (p>0.05) associated with the herd-level factors investigated. Good hygiene of the pig house was associated (OR=8) with reduced mortality. Weight age ratio and ADWG were not (p>0.05) associated with the herd level risk factors investigated. The weaning-to-service interval was 3.2 months and the interfarrowing interval (IFI) was 6.9 months. The mean number of live born piglets per farrowing (NLBP) was 9.2 and the mean number weaned was 6.9. The mean lactation length was 2.2 months. Supplementation of the sow with protein rich feeds was associated (OR=14) with increased number oflive born piglets (NLBP). The results of the interventions revealed that the anthelmintic activity of ivermectin was significantly (p<0.05) higher than for piperazine from day 7 to day 68 post-treatment. The anthelmintic activity ofivermectin was not different (p>0.05) from that of levamisole. Significantly (p<0.05) lower number of pigs positive for mites were observed on day 14 post-treat,ment with the ivermectin as compared to the control group. The proportion of pigs positive for mites was not different (p>0.05) between the ivermectin and amitraz treatment groups throughout the study period. The costs oflabour for the treatments were, ivermectin ($0.25), piperazine/amitraz ($0.04) and levamisole/amitraz ($0.04). The overall costs for the treatments were ivermectin ($0.5), piperazine/amitraz ($0.31) and levamisole/amitraz ($0.26). Most of the health and husbandry aspects associated with productivity are amenable to manipulation and can be addressed by use of appropriate preventive methods and extension services. Therefore, the delivery of extension information to pig farmers should be improved. The limiting role of nutrition has been highlighted but the formulation of appropriate and cost-effective diets may prove problematic due to nonavailability of on-farm alternative feed. However, attention could be paid to alternative cereals at the national level to supplement maize as this would lead to reduction in the prices of pig feeds. Supplementation of pigs with protein rich feeds, improvement of sow performance and reduction of grower pig mortality could considerably improve productivity of pigs in the smallholder herds.