Feeding in swine production, irrespective of the purpose of production takes about 7o percent of the total cost of production. It is imperative to feed pigs highly nutritious feed to increase their weight gain and enable quick turn over on investment. Pig and broilers are the two livestock known to have high feed conversion, therefore you do not need plenty of feed to make your pigs gain weight, you only need quality feed. Exactly how, when, and what to feed pigs is an important question to ensure maximum weight gain for the herd.
Several factors influence the success of any commercial pig enterprise; the genetic makeup, health, environment, nutrition, and feeding play a crucial role in pig feed conversion. Feeding and nutritional strategies for pigs, no matter the age, is one of the keys to success. Surely, there are many considerations that can influence production, and your farm’s profits when managing your herd. Increased weight gain in pigs can be achieved by knowing the nutritional properties of ingredients used to pig feed formulation. Quality feed ingredients make quality feed and quality feed result in high weight gain.
Quality and quantity, along with the selection of the right feed ingredients, actually play an important part in maximizing an increase in weight. Selecting the right protein source to include in pig feed is necessary for maximum weight gain; amino acids are required in all phases of pig’s growth, they are essential for continuous muscle growth, increase in weight, and other metabolic functions. So, the protein source should be high in the amino acids required by pigs for growth.
Pig Feed Requirement And Feeding Schedule
Usually, the purpose of production determines the age feeding schedule; the feeding schedule of pigs reared for breeding purposes is different from that of meat production. Pigs kept for meat are fed to achieve high weight, the earlier this is achieved the more money the farmer makes. Pig farmers should have a target weight of pigs they want to achieve. Pigs are priced according to their fat content, the fat content of the pig is measured when sold. And the thickness of fat that covers the meat of the pig depends on the nature of food fed to the pig, its quantity and quality come to play.
In order to attain the desired weight, the pigs should be feed using appropriate feed ingredients. Basically, four classes of food are required in pig feed to enable it to meet its production purpose; pig feed must contain energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The last class is water, this must be readily available always. The function of feed ingredients is to supply these classes of food in the pig feed in order to meet the pig nutritional requirement. Variation of feed materials must be included for the swine food, depending on the swine age. The food that is given to a young pig is different from that for an older pig in so many ways.
Usually, there are 4 classes of pigs; piglets, weaners, growers, and fatteners. Each class requires a different feeding schedule; the piglets are fed with creep feed; it is very high in nutrients as it contains 24-26 percent crude protein (CP) and 3400 – 3800 kcal/kg, weaners require feed with 20 percent crude protein (CP) and 3250 – 3400 kcal/kg digestible energy, grower requires feed that contains 16 – 18 percent crude protein (CP) and 3000 kcal/kg. the fattener feed should contain 15 – 16 percent crude protein (CP) and 2800 kcal/kg.
Feeding pigs with kitchen waste and leftovers is not advisable because the leftovers will ruin the appetite of pigs. Commercial pig production must be carried out professionally by feeding the pigs food to meet their nutritional requirement. The first step to producing pig food for high weight gain is to select the best feed ingredients. Energy and protein sources take about 95 percent of the whole pig food; vitamins, minerals, and other additives own the remain 5 percent in various proportions. The notable sources of energy are Barley, wheat, corn, and sorghum while for protein, fishmeal, soybean meal, groundnut cake, cottonseed meal, blood meal, etc. can be considered as notable protein sources.
Pigs are monogastric animals and should be fed food that is low in fiber. High fibrous feed like grasses should be avoided as it takes a considerable amount of energy for pigs to digest fiber. The more calories burned in the digestion of high-fiber diets, the fewer calories the pig absorbs, and the less there is available to turn into muscle growth and weight gain. Either yellow corn, Barley, wheat, and sorghum is commonly used as an energy source. Avoid using bird-proof sorghums, as they have reduced palatability.
Also, yellow or white sorghum is better than the red one because the red sorghum contains an antinutrient called Tannin; this antinutrient inhibits protein digestion in pigs. The food needs to be mixed homogenously by grinding and mixing the grain with the protein sources and other ingredients like vitamins, minerals, additives, to make a balanced meal for the pig. To enhance feed intake, serve a ground meal to a large number of pigs and serve pellets or cubes to a smaller number of pigs.
Cereal grains like corn can serve as an energy source and protein source, however, they are deficient in essential amino acids required by pigs. This lapse in nutritional balance makes the need to combine protein supplements with cereal grains to get the correct amount of amino acids. Soybean is a plant protein source with a high amino acid profile that can be matched with animal protein; it can be used as a sole source of protein in pig food or mixed with other protein sources due to its high price. The combination of soybean meal and grains like corn results in a balance of amino acid needed by the pigs.
Feed Requirement Per Day For Different Classes Of Pig
In order to attain a good weight gain through feed and feeding, it is recommended to serve a pig under each class the following quantity of feed per day.
Quantity of feed (KG)
Lastly, the feeding equipment also plays a crucial role in feed efficiency and utilization by pigs. If you formulate the best feed and serve in a bad feeder; the big will not utilize the feed better and it will greatly affect the output in terms of weight gained as the feeder has failed to make the feed readily available for the pigs to utilize successfully. there are several types of pig feeding equipment like automatic cylindric pig feeder mainly used for fattening pigs for better weight gain; dry wet pig feeder suitable for feeding powdered and pellet feeds; feed troughs for sows, piglets, and fattening pigs. Ensure you use the proper pig feeders.