The growth and development of weaned piglets, growers, finishers, pregnant sows, lactating sows and their nursing pigs is related to both the quality of the feed and the volume consumed per pig on a daily basis.
As a requirement for every effective feed management programme, a farmer is expected to know, or at least have a fair knowledge of the overall quantity (kg) of feed consumed by the herd. This write up shall only concentrate on feed intake.
Feed Consumption pattern
Understanding the seasonal pattern of feed consumption is very critical to decision making in ensuring the optimal performance of the herd throughout the cycle. Changes in the environment have implications for the behaviour and appetite levels of pigs. A farmer is expected to observe the trend and make the necessary adjustments in time, to maintain or improve the rate of growth of the herd. A myriad of factors contributes to the consumption of feed by pigs of all ages. It is instructive for every farmer to constantly work to identify and improve on factors that do not promote efficient feed consumption.
Factors affecting volume of feed consumed
Growing pigs; weaners, growers and finishers are often fed on ad lib regime. However, the volume of feed consumed per piglet/pig is largely affected by;
- Energy density of the diet
- Breed of the pig
- Environmental temperature
- Health condition of the pig
- Palatability (flavour and taste)
- Absence of moulds, mycotoxins etc
- Design of feeding system (ease of access to feeding trough by all pigs)
- Population density of sty (crowding/overcrowding)
Each pigsty requires constant observation with the parameters enumerated above, in order to identify and tackle growth delays or otherwise preventable loss that may be due to lapses in the feed management process.
The big question
The question every farmer must satisfy himself/herself with is; “are all my pigs eating their maximum quantity of feed requirement, containing all their dietary requirements to grow fast enough to achieve the market weight on schedule?”
Clean drinking water
*There MUST be clean drinking water available and easily accessible to all pigs 24/7. There can be no compromises with this. Geoddell Farms® strongly recommends the use of automatic water dispensing systems; nipple drinkers, systems connected to pipe-borne water to automatically fill the water trough periodically etc.
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