Pigs usually need nutritious food regularly to be healthy, happy and contended. A diet that is high in energy (corn), low in fiber (cellulose) and supplemented with ample of protein is considered ideal and wholesome to ensure the upward and steady growth of a pig.
A pig can not be called a pig unless it loves its food. Its feeding habits are characterized with rooting and pleading for more food and eating food with a great gusto and relish.
However, in spite of your pig being constantly obsessed with the idea of eating food, it does not mean you submit to its obsession.
There is a specific and regulated pattern of feeding and eating habits for your pig and before you give your pig that extra morsel of food, ponder again!
A major portion of your pig's diet should comprise of potbellied pig feed. Even though not abundantly available, do not compromise and substitute it with readily available other food. Pig feed generally resembles small pellets that are high in proteins and low in calories unlike a hog's feed.
Another important note to be made is to never feed your pig food that is formulated for a hog for obvious reasons like your pig is not a hog and does not need to eat like a hog. Once you have selected the right kind of food, the next thought provoking step is to decipher the proportion of food to be fed to pigs to most fundamentally ensure weight management. If you are raising your pig on a farm, you can feed them grain and corn in a pig trough. Always let pigs eat until they are full.
Feeding your pig food over the course of the day is a good way of feed your pig. By scattering half cup of pellet four times at regular intervals in a day will help is easy digestion and also teach the pig to rations its food. In case of a predicament, where you are not at home as often to cater to all feeds, then you can minimize it to 2-3 times a day but the quantity still remaining intact.
If your pig is hungry in between meal times, which is very likely, then feed it with lost of vegetables and fruits. Pigs feast on berries, carrots, raisins, apples, celery and almost all the other items stored in your refrigerator.
Not very fussy eaters, pigs when left loose in the wild, tend to relish mainly on vegetation and a random insect. Thus it is advisable not to over feed pigs with excess meat and pork items and maybe seldom entertain them with a slice of ham, bacon or sausages.
Pigs do enjoy sweet treats occasionally and they can indulge in animal crackers that are low in calorie or lightly sweetened cereal. Pigs should also be also given lots of fresh water as half of a pig's body is made up of water. If you feed your pig a proper diet, you will make sure it remains fat and healthy.
Importance of Feeds and Feeding
1. Feed accounts for at least 70% of the cost of commercial pig production. Therefore, it is the most important operational cost item in a pig enterprise. To maximize profits, a pig farmer must minimize feeding costs. Feed must contain the nutrients in the right quantities.
2. Pigs require feed for body maintenance, growth and reproduction. Feeds supply nutrients which are used to meet these biological needs.
3. There are six classes of nutrients required by the pig: water, energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and lipids. These nutrients can be supplied by a wide variety of feedstuffs.
4. Feeding pigs for optimum production requires that feedstuffs be combined in proportionate amounts that will provide the quantities of nutrients needed by the animals.
Nutrients required by pigs
1. Water: Sixty-five percent of the pig’s body is water. The pig requires water to enable all body functions such as digestion, excretion, blood circulation and maintenance of body temperature.
Lack of water quickly leads to a rise in body temperature and death. Also less water will have a major effect on food intake and pig performance. A Sow needs 20 liters of drinking water daily. A farmer should supply clean fresh water all the time.
2. Energy: Provides the body system with the power to function. The energy requirement of the pig is supplied by carbohydrates and fats. The main sources of carbohydrates are cereals, root crops and fruits (Table 5). Fats commonly used in pig feeds include groundnuts and soybeans oils, among others. The pig requires very small amount of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid required for the body’s normal functioning.
3. Protein: Provides the primary blocks for body building and repair i.e meat, collagen, hair and nails. The most commonly used plant and animal protein containing feedstuffs.
4. Minerals: These are the nutrients found in bones. Minerals are required for strong bones and normal body function. There are 13 essential inorganic minerals known to be required by the pig.
The minerals required in sizeable quantities are calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and chlorine. Iron is very important to the piglet. The common sources of minerals include: lake shells (Obusonko), bone ash, common salt, brown salt, soil and commercial vitamin-mineral premix. Bonemeal, oyster shell and limestone are the most common sources of Calcium and Phosphorus in pig rations.
5. Vitamins are required for maintenance of normal health. Common sources of vitamins for pigs include green leaves and vegetables Table