Factors to Consider in Choosing a Feeding Method
A. Genetic potential of the pig
Genetically improved animals require quality feed and suitable environment to achieve maximum growth. Profitable pig keeping does not necessarily require the best breeds but more importantly, it is the matching of the genetic quality of the feed and its environment.
If the genetic quality of the pig is good, ad libitum feeding is recommended to take advantage of the growth potential of the pig. Thus, if the genetic potential is poor, restricted feeding should be applied.
B. Quality of the feed (Kcal of the feed)
Growth performance is primarily influenced by nutrient intake. The increasing nutritional requirement of the grower should be met to achieve the maximum growth performance at a certain period and at given number of fattening days. If the feed is of good quality and the growth potential of the pig is high, ad libitum feeding is recommended.
C. Environment: housing and climatic condition
Extreme temperatures stress the pigs, thus, it affect the feed intake, weight gain and feed efficiency It a/so affect the pigs’ susceptibility to diseases and infection.
Proper housing and ventilation can control these extreme temperatures to occur. Close attention in the construction of pig houses should therefore be given to attain maximum growth of the pigs.
In a cold temperature, the pigs consume more feed because their energy requirement for maintenance is increased to maintain normal body temperature. Generally, growth rate is not affected, but feed efficiency is poorer. When restricted feeding is practiced, pigs cannot voluntarily adjust energy intake. Thus, the feed level must be increased based on the temperature.
As the temperature rises above the thermoneutral zone, feed consumption declines and extreme heat stress causes drastic reduction in feed consumption. Wet feeding can also be done to stimulate the appetite of the pigs. Providing shower could also help reduce stress and increase feed consumption.
D. Availability and price of feeds
If there is irregular supply of feeds in the area, restricted feeding is recommended to ensure continuous feeding. However, if feed is readily available and at the same time the price is low, ad libitum feeding is more practical.
E. Carcass quality
If preference of lean meat is higher, it may be necessary to limit feed intake. However, if the market is insensitive to fatness and ad libitum does not result in worse feed conversion, then the clear choice is to practice ad libitum.
Wet vs Dry Feeding
Wet feeding means mixing the dry feed with two to three times its weight to water (1:2-3). Water should be added just before feeding. This method is only suitable for feeding regimen were the pigs are able to consume the feed given, otherwise, the feeds will likely ferment and attract flies and vermin.
Table 2. Comparison between wet and dry feeding
- Reduces feed wastage
- Increase digestibility
- Higher feed intake
- Spoilage if not consumed immediately
- Attract more flies
- Higher amount of feed wastage
- Lower digestibility
- Lower feed intake
- Less labor
- Less spoilage
- Needs separate feed
trough and waterer
There are three important points to consider in determining the amount of feed to be given daily.
- The lower the starting weight the higher the quality of starter feed should be used.
- If the genetic potential of the pig is good (fast grower), starter feed can be given till the pig reaches 45 to 60 kgs.
- The feeding scheme should be based on the average growth performance of the pigs, refer to Table 1 for details. Changing of feeds should be done gradually.
Since weight is necessary to determine the feeding scheme to be used, weight estimation is more practical rather than actual weighing. Weighing of pigs every now and then causes stress to the pigs.
One way of estimating is by looking and getting the average weight of the biggest and smallest pigs. The distribution of weights should also be considered. If their sizes are closer to the heaviest (biggest) pig, then the estimated weight should be between the calculated average weight and the weight of the heaviest pig. The calculated average weight will represent the weight of finishers in a pen.
Different kinds of feeds have different densities and weights. The use of a similar feed scoop on different feeds may not give the ration one hopes to give. In the absence of a feed scale, necessary adjustments can be made on the feed scoop used for the exact amount of feed if feed densities are known.
Feed density is the relationship between weight and volume of a certain feed. It is calculated by dividing the weight of the feed by the volume of the same amount of feed.
Formula: Feed Density = Mass (kg) / Volume (li)
Bayani has 12 finishers, with an average weight of 60 kg LW. Daily he gives three bucketful (15-liter capacity) of finisher mash. Considering an ADG of 650 grams, is Bayani giving the correct amount of feed?
Required Feed Consumption = 2.0 kg/day X 12 finishers = 24 kilograms
- 1 bucketful of feeds = 8 kgs
- 3 bucketful x 8 kg = 24 kgs
Therefore. Bayani is giving the right amount of feed to the finishers.
Feed density = 8 kg feed / 15 lifers = 0.533 kg/liter
Importance of Water
The water requirement of the pigs should not be token for granted. It is not enough to make water avail-able but the quality should also be considered. Water given must be clean and odorless. Water is important in the regulation of body temperature thru evaporative cooling, it also functions as solvent, and lubricant.
The required quantity of water depends on the age of pigs, production level and climate (see Table 3). The water needs of the pig can come from the drinking water provided, water contained in feed, and metabolic water derived from the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Table 3. Water requirement of finishers according to their weight.
|Body weight (kg)
60 – 80
80 – 125
|1.89 – 3.78 L/day
2.65 – 4.54 L/day
3.78 – 7.56 L/day
source: DA-ATI, ITCPH-Lipa