Friday, May 24, 2024

Nutrient Requirement of Pigs and Swine Feeding Methods

The nutrient requirement of pigs and the different swine feeding methods along with the anti-nutritional factors include the following;

1. Water As a Part of Nutrient Requirement of Pigs

Water is one of the most important nutrient classes. Swine of all ages should have free access to fresh and clean water at all times.

Limiting water intake will result in reduced growth rate and efficiency of gain in pigs and reduced milk production in lactating sows.

A severe limitation of drinking water can cause death in pigs. The requirement for water is influenced by many factors including environmental temperature and humidity, the composition of the feed, and the weight of the pig.

Water requirement of pigs

Type of pig:  Water requirement for each kilo of feed/liter

Fattening pigs2.5
Lactating sows5.0
Dry sows3.0
Piglets’ad liberated (freely as needed)

2. Energy As a Part of Nutrient Requirement of Pigs

Apart from water, sources of energy are the most important food requirements of the pig and will most rapidly influence its survival if withdrawn.

Energy can be defined as the capacity to do work and occurs in various inter-convertible forms such as chemical, thermal or radiant energy.

It is normally measured in heat units, traditionally the calorie, but now the megajoule (MJ) is the most commonly-used unit (where 1 MJ = 0239 MCals).

Nursing pigs derived most of their energy from fat and sugar lactose in milk. Most of the energy for growing pigs is derived from the metabolism of starch because of insufficient amylase starch digestive enzyme in the small intestine.

Protein in excess of the requirement can be used as an energy source but it is too expensive or costly to use protein as a source of energy. But in older animal sow and finishing fee, a limited amount of energy can be derived from volatile fatty acid products produced by bacteria fermentation of fiber.

In the large intestine, the energy requirements of pigs are expressed as digestible energy (D.E.) and metabolizable energy (M.E.). For all weight classes of pigs, the metabolizable energy (M.E.) is approximately 96% of the digestible energy requirement.

Energy requirements of pigs are influenced by their weight which influences the maintenance requirement by their genetic capacity for growth or milk synthesis and by the environmental temperature in which they are housed.

 The energy requirement for maintenance is directly related to metabolic body weight and is approximately 110kcal of digestible energy (D.E.) per kilogram of body weight. Energy food is mixed with maize, rice, sorghum, cassava, sweet potato, and cereal grain.

Read Also: Principles of Feeding Pigs and Feed Resources

3. Protein As a Part of Nutrient Requirement of Pigs

Protein consists of some 20 basic units known as amino acids. When protein is eaten by the pig, it is broken down into amino acids, which are then used for the building up of the essential organs of the body and the skeletal muscle (lean tissue).

Nine of the amino acids required by the pig cannot be synthesized by its body, and they must be supplied in the diet. If they are present in insufficient quantities, the pig will not grow and may not even survive.

Swine require ten (10) essential amino acids in their diet for normal body function. A good quality protein is one that provides the amino acids in the amount and proportion necessary for the particular need of the pig (growth, reproduction, and lactation).

Protein food is oil seeds e.g. cotton seed, soybean groundnuts coconut bean, peas, blood meal, fishmeal, etc. amino acid requirements are influenced mostly by the age and weight of the pig. On a daily basis, the required increase as the pig increases weight.

Table: The essential amino acids for pigs, and the number of essential amino acids in the ‘ideal’ protein for growing pigs

Essential amino-acidsAmounts of the ideal requirements for growing pigs (g/kg protein)
Methionine and cysteine35
Phenylalanine and tyrosine67

4. Minerals As a Part of Nutrient Requirement of Pigs

Compared with energy and protein, minerals are required in very small amounts. Thirteen minerals are required in the diet. Major minerals include calcium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, and choline and trace minerals include iron, iodine, and selenium.

The two minerals required in the greatest amount by swine are calcium and phosphorus. Adequate levels of both calcium and phosphorus must be included in the diet for a strong skeletal structure.

Read Also: Principles of Feeding Pigs and Feed Resources

5. Vitamins As a Part of Nutrient Requirement of Pigs

Vitamins can be defined as organic compounds which function in small amounts (mg or µg) and are essential to the normal functioning of the animal body. They cannot be synthesized in adequate amounts by body tissues and when lacking, provoke deficiency diseases.

Fourteen vitamins are required by swine, all in very small amounts. Fat-soluble vitamins are A D E and K. while water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and B complex, Riboflavin, Pantothenic acid, Niacin, Vitamin B12, Choline, Pyridoxine, Thiamin, Folic acid, and Biotin.

Cereal, grains, and plant protein supplements are very poor sources of many of vitamins. From a practical standpoint, vitamin premix should be added to swine feed.

Swine Feeding Methods

Nutrient Requirement of Pigs and Swine Feeding Methods

The three swine feed usually available commercially are:

Creep feed-16% protein

Sow and Weaner meal 14% and

Swine finishing meal 12% for fattening of swine for pork and bacon.

Minerals are very important and the ratio must contain some limestone, bone meal, and common salt.

A sudden change in feedstuff upset swine and prevents them from gaining weight. Changes in feedstuff should be made as gradually as possible over a period of a week or more.

Read Also: Proper Ways of Feeding Pigs

Table: Approximate daily food allowances for different classes of pigs

Dry sows Farrowed sow: Fattening pigs
8 weeks
10   weeks
12   weeks
14   weeks
16 weeks 18 weeks 20 weeks 22 weeks 24 weeks 26 weeks 28 weeks
3 kg sow and weaner meal (less if getting too fat) 2.0-2.5 kg
1 kg plus 0.5 kg for each piglet.
 1.0 kg
1.25 kg
1.50 kg
1.75 kg
2.0 kg
2.50 kg
2.50 kg 275 kg
3.0 kg
3.0 kg
3.0 kg

Read Also: Pig Production Systems (System of Pig Production)

Anti-nutritional Factors

In the tropics, plant proteins are by far the most common source of protein for pigs, and a number of these are associated with anti-nutritional factors.

These can be in the form of toxins or other substances which interfere with digestion and utilization, and it is essential that these factors are taken into account when formulating rations. An example is a soybean which contains a trypsin inhibitor.

This inhibits the action of trypsin in the pig’s gut and can reduce the digestibility of protein so that only 30 percent of it will be digested.

In conclusion, nutrition and feeding management are very important aspects of swine production. Knowledge of the nutrient requirement of swine during each phase of their life cycle is extremely important and swine are affected by poor feeding.

The major groups of essential nutrients for pigs are energy, protein, minerals, vitamins, and water.

Swine do not have a rumen. The fibrous component of the diet is not utilized as efficiently as in ruminant animals. Pigs are also dependent upon certain essential amino acids present in dietary protein from which they build their own body protein unlike the ruminant animal, swine cannot synthesize the essential amino acids from poor quality protein or from non-protein nitrogen sources.

Digestion has been defined simply as the preparation of food for absorption. It may include mechanical forces such as chewing or mastication and muscular contraction of the GIT.

The three swine feed usually available commercially are: Creep feed-16% protein, Sow and Weaner meal of 14%, and Swine finishing meal of 12% for fattening of swine for pork and bacon.

Read Also: Types of Pig Feeds and When to Feed Each

Read Also: How Waste Papers, Metals, Woods, Glasses, and Plastics are Recycled


Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with over 12 years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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