September 2, 2014
While fairly new, the practice of natural hog raising or “Babuyang Walang Amoy” in the Philippines, has increased steadfastly through the years. More and more Filipinos, both experienced farmers and those new to farming, have begun to adopt this technology of growing healthy pigs. Many new farmers have built their own backyard “Babuyang Walang Amoy” using indigenous and even recyclable materials available in their surroundings. And many current backyard raisers have also opted to convert their existing conventional pens into this more economical and sustainable technology.
There is more to the “Babuyang Walang Amoy” (literally “piggery with no smell”) technology than being just odor-free. While its most distinct feature is being free from bad odor that is present in most conventional piggeries, its most important feature is that it mimics the natural habitat of pigs, which allows for stress-free pigs that are less prone to sickness and diseases. This technology is easier, cleaner, and more cost-effective for farmers, it reduces antibiotic dependency in pigs, it is environment and community-friendly, and it promotes humane animal treatment. Coupled with natural, antibiotic-free, fermentable feeds, the “Babuyang Walang Amoy” system produces meat that is natural, healthy, and safe for human consumption. Farmers are also able to further capitalize on this technology by going into other related ventures like organic farming, vermiculture, organic fertilizer production, pond aquaculture, and many more.
Using the “Babuyang Walang Amoy” technology, pigs are able to roam around freely within the pen on a soft bedding of organic materials – such as rice hulls, they are free to cool themselves off in a shallow wallowing pond, and they are able to exercise their natural behaviors like burrowing.
Before starting construction of a “Babuyang Walang Amoy” several factors have to be considered. The “Babuyang Walang Amoy” should be located in a place with ample sunlight penetration as sunlight is a natural disinfectant and also provides vitamin D for the animals. It is also important to note that the location must also allow for ample wind to flow through the piggery. A cool environment helps foster more stress-free pigs.
Make sure to avoid lowlands where flood incidence is high during rainy seasons. The earth flooring below the natural piggery must be at the highest possible level in case of flood.
And to make it easier, choose a location that is accessible to main roads. It will be easier to transport feeds to the piggery as well as transport harvested pigs from the piggery to be marketed.
The basic parts of a “Babuyang Walang Amoy” are the bedding, wallowing pond, and feeding trough. It is recommended to allocate about 1.5 to 2 square meters per pig for the bedding. The wallowing pond should be about 1 meter wide spanning the length of one side of the pen. The feeding trough is usually placed opposite the wallowing pond. The feeding trough is only about 10 inches wide – wide enough for the pig to eat from and narrow enough to prevent the pigs from sleeping on the trough. In a typical “Babuyang Walang Amoy” with ten pigs, the dimensions of the pen are usually 4m x 5m for the bedding and 1m x 4m/5m for the pond for a total area of up to 25 square meters.
Farmers can use whatever materials they have readily available in their areas. It is important that the materials used to construct the piggery are sturdy enough to withstand the elements and strong enough to hold the pigs inside the pen.
Typical “Babuyang Walang Amoy” use a combination of concrete and bamboo or wood, and nipa, anahaw, or G.I. sheet for the roof. Other materials that may be available can also be used as long as they do not potentially hurt or stress the pigs.
The roof may either be shed type, semi-monitor, or monitor type. When deciding which roof to make, it is important to make sure that the piggery allows for ample wind to circulate. Larger piggeries will benefit from semi-monitor or monitor type roofs that have openings at the top.
It is recommended to use rice hull or other high lignin or organic materials as bedding. Some farmers have used wood chips, coffee shells, shredded corn cobs, saw dust, coco dust, and others. The bedding must be 2 to 3 feet deep and is placed above the soil/ground level. There is no concrete flooring below the rice hull bedding.
The wallowing pond should be about 1 meter wide spanning the length of one side of the pen. It is shallow and should be able to hold only up to 6 inches deep water. The pigs use the pond to cool off. They also usually defecate/urinate in one area of the pond.
The feeding trough is located opposite and/or perpendicular the wallowing pond. It may also span the entire length of the piggery or at least long enough to accommodate all the pigs. The feeding trough is curved/half-circle inside and is about 8 inches wide and 6 inches tall inside.
It is ideal to have automatic drinkers installed on the wall on the wallowing pond side of the pen. Any excess water will fall into the wallowing pond when the pig is drinking. There must be 1 drinker for every 3 pigs. It is recommended that the height of the drinker be adjustable. The drinker must be low enough for piglets to reach and must be adjusted higher as the piglets grow taller.
Maintaining the “Babuyang Walang Amoy” properly and timely not only ensures an odor-free and clean piggery but also assures stress-free pigs.
Waste must be collected every now and then by sweeping it out from the pond or scooping it out the bedding. The waste can be set aside and used as fertilizer for plants.
The bedding depth must also be maintained. From time to time the bedding sinks (due to the weight of the pigs) or gets wet, so it is important to add fresh bedding. After harvest, it is recommended to change all the bedding and replace to new bedding before new piglets are stocked.
The wallowing pond must be filled with up to 6 inches deep water every morning and must be drained and cleaned every afternoon. It is not advisable to leave water there overnight because the temperature of piggery area may become too cool for the pigs.
It is also important that the pigs are fed organic feed or natural feed, such as Feedpro, that contain no harmful antibiotics or harmful growth hormones. Some growers have experienced shortcomings when growing their pigs (e.g. piggery has bad odor, growth targets are not achieved) because they use non-natural feeds.
Feedpro follows the typical feeding program or feeding schedule of conventional feeds. It can be fed to pigs dry (which is the conventional way of feeding), wet, or fermented. To ferment feeds, Feedpro is soaked in water (1 kilo of feeds to 3 liters of water) for up to 12 hours. The fermented feeds are then given to the pigs in its liquid form. Fermentation is recommended because it further stimulates the Probiotics in the feeds before they even reach the gut. Please note only Feedpro feeds from starter to finisher are allowed to be fermented.
Feedpro natural feed contain select strains of Probiotics – live yeast, lactic acid bacteria, and organic acids – that all work together to improve the pigs’ gut health. In turn, it improves their digestion thereby allowing their bodies to optimally absorb the nutrients in the feeds. The Probiotics or good bacteria work by outnumbering the number of pathogens or harmful bacteria in the digestive tract and competing with these harmful bacteria for their food source. Because of these healthy Probiotics, pigs are able to achieve the same growth rates or even better growth rates than conventional feeds that use antibiotics and medications.
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