There are different types of pig feeds that exists in pig farming business and the appropriate time and the right age that each of them can be served to your pigs because the different stages of pigs have different required nutrient specification and therefore they should be fed on different feeds according to the nutrient requirement and the age of the pigs to be fed.
Pig feeds accounts for about 60-70% of the cost of pig meat production. It is, therefore, important to get the formulations and rations right at each stage of growth.
Feeding diets that are appropriate to each stage of production can help capture gains in performance and efficiency, and this makes all the difference when net margins are tight.
It is also important to note that as piglets grow, their demand for nutrients grows and outstrips the capacity of the sow to supply them because her milk yield peaks at about three weeks and then slowly declines.
Therefore, today we are going to discuss about the different type of pig feeds we have in pig farming business and when they should be used for the pigs.
Below are some complete pig feeds required by our pigs and they can either be made or mixed locally using feed mill or farm level to produce them or the pig farmer can as well decide to buy them as packaged complete feed.
Meanwhile for packaged complete feeds, its useful information such as the nutrient composition of the feed and complete feed name are always written on the bag.
Now let us discuss about the different types of pig feeds along with the appropriate time and age to use them to feed your pigs.
1) Creep Feed
This is given to piglets as early as 10 days and piglets continue to feed on it up to 1 week after weaning. Early weaning is done at 4 weeks.
2) Weaner Feed
This is being fed to pigs from weaning to about 12-14 weeks of age.
3) Growers Feed
This is fed to pigs from 13 to around 18 weeks.
4) Grower / Fattener Feed
This is fed to pigs from 13 weeks to 24 weeks for those operating under fattening operation.
5) Dry Sow Feed
This is fed to pregnant pigs, boar and those under dry period.
6) Lactating Sow Feed
This is fed to lactating sows.
Meanwhile there are some important notes I will like you to take seriously below:
1. Don’t use concentrate as a complete feed. It’s simply the feed used with another feed to come up with complete feed.
2. Don’t trust those people at the feed mills to formulate your feed for you as some of them are money oriented with insufficient knowledge on animal nutrition so just tell them to do the mixing for you instead after you have finish adding your ingredients according to your desired quantity.
3. Always follow the manufacturer’s advice on the quantity of feed to be served to your pigs, the appropriate timing and how it should be properly served.
In summary, when feeding pigs it is important to consider the nutritional requirements as there is no such thing as a ‘standard‘ diet. The nutritional requirements are often simplified and described as a requirement for energy and protein.
More specifically, the protein requirement is described as lysine requirement. Lysine is an important amino acid that indicates the quality of protein in terms of the pig’s needs.
Factors that influence the Pig Feeds Nutritional Requirement
In pig feeds, the pig’s nutritional requirements for optimal and healthy growth change and are influenced by factors such as:
1) Age and Body weight
A weaner / young pig requires a diet higher in protein and energy than does a finisher pig or an adult pig.
2) Genetic potential of your pigs
Fast growing breeds (e.g. Large White, Landrace, Duroc) require more protein in their diet than breeds that do not grow as fast (e.g. Berkshire, Hampshire).
3) Housing environment
For example, if pigs are in a cold or hot environment (outdoors during winter or summer) they will use more energy just to stay warm or cool, therefore to maintain growth higher levels of energy in the diet will be required.
4) Physiological state of the pig
A pregnant sow will have different energy and nutritional requirements to a sow that is feeding piglets, or a young pig that is growing rapidly.
There are a range of manufactured complete feeds available from stock feeders formulated to meet the requirements of different types of pigs. Feed companies, stock feed manufacturers or private consultants can also assist with formulating manufactured diets according to your (and your pig’s) particular needs.
In commercial pig production the cost of pig feeds contributes to 60-75% of the total operating cost. Therefore failing to match the composition of diets with actual requirements of the pig not only affects the pig’s, health and well-being but also its growth and performance (in terms of reproduction and meat production) and also the cost of keeping the pigs.