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An Essential Guide on Proper Feed and Nutrition for Pigs

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When it comes to swine production, one of the most important parts is knowing the proper way to feed pigs. While pigs will consume plenty of just about anything, from scraps to bread, grain, vegetables, and fruits, their growth rates can be better maintained when they are given proper pig feed appropriate to their life stage.

In order to maintain a healthy stock, maximize growth and reproduction, and increase production, it is imperative to feed them the right food and a balanced diet from wean to finish. The same way with humans, an infant will have different nutritional requirements compared to a toddler, a pre-teen, and so on. 

Foods to avoid

Before going into what to feed your stock, it also helps to know what you want to avoid giving them. These are not recommended for various reasons, such as slowed growth rate or toxicity. Take note of these foods you should not be giving to pigs:

  • Sweets and high-sugar foods – can slow growth rate
  • Dog food
  • Cracked corn
  • Milk, fish, meats – can harbor viruses
  • Fruits – may cause illness or discomfort
  • Potatoes – may cause severe stomach ache, diarrhea, or heart failure

Formulating your own pig feed

Some opt to formulate their own feed so they’re more in control of what goes in the food. The most common and the best source of food are farm grains. Typically corn-based feeds are used because not only are they cost-effective, they are also high in digestible carbohydrates and low in fiber. Feeds are also often mixed with broken rice, maize, rice bran, soya beans, cassava, vegetables, and distillers’ residues. 

Whether you take this route or go for readymade feeds, it should still meet the pigs’ needs for maintenance, growth, and reproduction. They should also contain sufficient protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals. These feeds should also be supplemented with other vitamins, proteins, and other antibacterial compounds to slow the growth of naturally occurring bacteria that may be harmful to your stock.

Proper nutrition for pigs

A pig’s food and water requirements change as pigs grow. Here’s what you should expect and consider at certain life stages:

Piglets (Under 40 lbs.)

Piglets should be introduced to a solid diet through creep feeding while they are still suckling. Creep feeding is feeding a solid diet to piglets while they are suckling the sow,  which prepares their digestive system for weaning. Dietary needs will increase daily along with their weight.

Growing & Finishing Pigs (40+ lbs.)

Growing pigs are those weighing 40 to 125 pounds, while finishing pigs are those weighing 125 pounds to market weight (approximately 230 pounds or more).  Growers should transition from the grower feeds that are nutrient dense with more protein to the finisher feeds that are less dense.

A pig eats approximately 4% of its body weight per day, so they need a number of essential nutrients to meet their daily needs, including water, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. With a proper diet, you can expect weight gains of about 1.5 to 1.7 pounds per day up to around 110 pounds, then 1.8 to 2.2 pounds per day after.

Pigrolac feeds guide

Pigrolac provides holistic quality swine feeds that cater to the needs of every farm at every life stage. Here’s a helpful guide on how to use Pigrolac’s range of swine feeds:

StageDay of FeedingFeedAmount per day
Booster5 – 35Early Wean Immunobuster50 g
Pre-starter35 – 56Early Ween Super Start500 g
Starter57 – 85Pigrolac Premium Hog Starter1.0 kg
Grower86-120Pigrolac Premium Hog Grower1.7 kg
Finisher121 onwardsPigrolac Premium Hog FInisher2.3 kg

To learn more about the proper ways to raise swine and keep them healthy, click here.

Sources:

https://www.pigprogress.net/Special-Focus/Piglet-Feeding/Introduction-to-piglet-nutrition-Back-to-the-basics/

https://www.fwi.co.uk/livestock/4-step-guide-pig-feeding-rations

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