Proper Pig Nutrition - 4 Crucial Factors You Should Know When Feeding Pigs
- By: Mary Louise
Proper pig nutrition is critical to ensure that your pigs remain healthy. While you might think that you can create pig feed by slopping table scraps and vegetables that have gone bad into a bucket, this would result in unhealthy pigs that may not achieve their full growth potential. Sick animals will not be suitable for butchering, since the quality of their meat will be suspect. So you need to invest in the right commercial feed that has the proper mixture of nutrients.
To ensure optimum pig nutrition, make sure that the feed you buy contains a lot of corn (for energy) and is low in cellulose (fiber) while having the proper proportion of nutrients appropriate for their level of development. Of course, you can supplement this with over-ripe fruits and vegetables and other leftover food. You should keep in mind on feeding pigs no more than 6 pounds of food a day; otherwise they will become too fat. But keep in mind that pigs should not eat meat, so you should also provide protein supplements with their feed.
There are three types of feed available that are given to pigs at different stages of development to make sure proper pig nutrition. Starter feeds are given to weaning piglets weighing 10-20 kg until they reach a weight of 30 to 35 kg (when they are around three months old). Finisher feeds are then given to pigs to prepare them for market or butchering; the feed is given until they reach a weight of 80 to 90 kg. Grower feed is given to mature pigs to ensure they reach the proper weight of around 60 kg.
When you are readying a pig for market, make sure that any antibiotics included in the feed are removed at least two weeks before. Also, allow a transition period of one week when you are shifting from one type of feed to another in order not to upset the pigs' normal feeding behavior.Providing plenty of water is also essential for proper pig nutrition, since they need plenty of water to stay healthy. Make sure that they have access to clean and fresh drinking water that you should change daily.
Finally, when a pig is lactating, make sure to feed them as much as possible to ensure full pig nutrition and prevent the sow from getting too skinny, which would adversely affect the health of future liters. Make sure to feed her balanced lactation ration, given twice a day to get them to eat large amounts. Also treat the sow with her favorite tidbits and sweets every once in a while.
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