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Feeding the modern pig

The modern, domesticated pig has come a long way compared to its predecessors, from as recently as 30 years ago.

The growing pig has been genetically selected to be leaner, whilst the sow is now far more prolific, with the potential to produce well over 20 piglets per year. In addition, the amount of feed that the pig consumes, relative to its high performance has declined, so the modern pig is therefore a lot more efficient.

However, to achieve its potential, the pig needs a good feed. NRM’s Little Pig Tucker Pellets are the perfect all-rounder, specifically formulated to provide protein and energy to support lean growth in young pigs and milk production in lactating sows.

Pigs require nutrients very similar to humans and the most important nutrient is water. Water needs to be clean, cool and fresh and must be available at all times. A good feed will supply balanced protein, carbohydrates, essential fats, fibre and added vitamins and minerals. Little Pig Tucker Pellets provide all these nutrients in a convenient, complete feed at 17 percent protein.

Piglets that are suckling can be offered Little Pig Tucker Pellets as a creep feed from birth to weaning, without restriction, and can then be continued on this feed as the complete feed for growing pigs post-weaning through to market. It is a good idea to restrict the feed once pigs get to around 40kg, as this will reduce feed wastage and will also ensure that fat deposition is reduced.

For sows, feed 5kg on farrowing day and build this up to approximately 9kg per day as quickly as possible. The size of the sow and number of piglets she has, as well as the environmental temperature and humidity, also needs to be considered when determining the maximum amount to feed.

For older type genetics such as Kunekune pigs, Little Pig Tucker Pellets can also be fed. Simply restrict feed the pigs and allow them access to pasture or other fibre sources. A good rule of thumb for the lactating sow is to feed Little Pig Tucker Pellets between 1 and 2kg plus 250g per piglet she is suckling. For growing pigs, feed around 500g per pig up to 4 months of age.

Pigs are very sociable animals, so it’s always a good idea to rear them in groups rather than individually. They have a very strong social order too and can be aggressive, so keep an eye on this and put some play-things in the pen. Hanging chains or even old tyres from the ceiling will work well. Finally, watch out for rats and mice that will be attracted to feed. Try to limit spillage and use suitable feeding troughs that allow the pigs to eat all the feed and are easily cleaned. Bait stations for vermin should be placed where the pigs cannot gain access.

For more information, contact your local Nutrition Specialist.

Article supplied by Natalie Chrystal, Nutritionist, NRM.