Feeding Pigs Properly
Pigs, like us, are omnivores and will eat a wide variety of foods. Also, like us, they need a balanced diet of fiber, energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals to thrive. Feeding pigs will be your largest expenditure in keeping pigs, so it pays to get it right.
Choosing The Right Pig Feed and Food Storage
There are many different feed producers including organic and GM-free. You will pay a premium for these, but you may be happier doing so. Make sure you have somewhere dry and rodent free to store bags. Once opened, the food should be stored in a rodent-proof container. Any spillages should be swept up and removed immediately. Check regularly to ensure that there is no rodent damage to bags – if there is, deal with it immediately.
Always check the best before date on feed; while the feed value will be fine in terms of protein, fiber and oil, the vitamin and mineral levels will decline after it.
How Much to Feed Pigs
Feeding instructions are on the bag but these are for guidance. In cold weather, you may need to increase feed as the pig will use up energy to keep warm. Your best guide is the condition or level of fat cover on your pig.
Regularly check the body condition of your pigs. To do this, run your hand along the spine; if you can feel it clearly, the pig is a bit thin; if you can feel it with firm pressure, it’s fine; if you can’t feel it at all, the pig is too fat.
A first rule of thumb, you feed 1lb (450g) of food each day for each month of age, up to a maximum of 6lbs (2.75kg) per day. Do not feed more than this – you will waste money and end up with over-fat pigs. Only lactating sows need more food than this. Furthermore, weigh the food. Six pounds is probably less than you think.
The second rule of thumb for feeding pigs is, all feed should be cleared up within 20-30 minutes. If not, reduce the amount then increase gradually as appetite increases. On average, taking a weaner from 8 weeks to slaughter six and a half months later will use about 380kg of feed (19 x 20kg bags).
Why Use Galvanized Troughs
Like all animals, pigs must have constant access to clean fresh drinking water. Tipping the trough is also a good idea to make a wallow. Pigs will also stand in the water trough and wash their dirty faces in it, so it needs to be checked regularly, cleaned out, and refilled. Galvanized troughs are robust and easy to clean, and not too easy for the pigs to tip over. Automatic drinkers are available, but aren’t half as much fun for the pigs.
We understand that keeping your pigs, happy, healthy and well fed is important. Contact our friendly staff if you have any questions about feeding pigs and overall swine nutrition and care. We’re here to help!