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The domestication of pigs began 8 to 10 thousand years ago in the areas of East Asia, Western Europe, and the Mediterranean. The gradual process of domestication resulted in breeds that store 70% of their muscle mass in the back of their body, which is the most economically important in today’s production.
The key to raising feeder pigs is choosing good genetics that has the potential to achieve the best results.
A feeder pig is a pig around 8 weeks of age, weighing less than 120 pounds. They are raised to market age, then weighted and slaughtered.
How to raise feeder pigs?
To raise feeder pigs, certain elements need to be considered, for example, expenses, skills, and ideas.
In general, according to the production characteristics of pigs, they are divided into noble, transitional, and primitive. Within noble or modern genotypes, we can distinguish pure breeds and the increasingly linear hybrids found in intensive production systems.
Pigs don’t require spectacular housing. They can live in a hut that provides shade during summertime, and heat during the wintertime. The most prominent concern is usually fencing. Pigs like to dig under fences and can damage them, so a lot of people set up electric fences. They will choose electric fences because they are usually cheaper and easier to install.
The area in which the pigs are settled should provide enough space for them. For wintertime, pigs should have bedding to keep warm. Some even opt to use heat lamps, but if not handled well, heat lamps could cause fires.
The pigs are mostly fed with grains. Some say that barley is the best cereal for pigs because 90% of it gets absorbed into the body. Barley should make up 70% of all grains in the feeding, as it can feed pigs of any age. Peas are sometimes added to the diet because it saturates the body with proteins and significantly improves the quality of meat.
The major health problem that affects small piglets is respiratory diseases. They need extra care to watch out for symptoms like raising body temperature, coughing, and loss of appetite. The normal body temperature of a pig is 102.5°F. To raise the animal’s resistance and fight bacteria, pigs should get regular vaccines.
How much does it cost to raise a feeder pig?
Most feeder pigs are bought to be raised in the summertime, so a lot of pigs will be bought in spring. Raising pigs in the wintertime is less sufficient, as they need more food to keep them warm.
The exact cost cannot be pinpointed because the cost depends on a lot of factors. When you think about how to raise pigs, the first thing everyone needs to think about is their accommodation. They need to be constantly provided with food and water. If necessary, they need to have transportation. In great heats, they need coolers, so the pigs don’t get stressed out. The cost of a pig’s accommodation can be around $300.
The cost of feeding pigs is relatively high. Traditionally, in the later stages of growth, some people mix their food, such as corn, with already-made food that differs according to the stages of growth. Depending on different food prices, it will take around $150-$200 to feed one pig to market weight.
One should also need to think about a pig’s health care. If a pig falls extremely ill, the health care costs can be big.
How long does it take to grow a feeder pig?
A feeder pig will grow from 60 to 250 pounds in five months. When the pig is born, it weighs about 4 pounds and it will stay with its mom until around 8 weeks of age.
The growing potential of pigs is determined by genetics. If the pigs are healthy, raising them should be an easy success. This depends on the breed of a pig. A lot of people have favorite breeds which they use for feeding. The most common one is a crossbred feeder pig. They can be distinguished by white tan and grey spots on the back.
The environment also has a great impact on pig growth. They need to stay in an area that is comfortable for them and protect them from extreme weather. Pigs can be raised completely inside or outside.
Pigs shouldn’t be stressed out in their environment. If the pig is stress-free and calm, it will grow faster and healthier, without developing major diseases. Under stress, pigs will not eat. Pigs need to have plenty of food and water, especially in high heat. As the pigs grow, so does their need for water.
Temperature is important for pig growth. They can adapt to any climate, but too low or too high temperature can affect their growth. If the temperature is too high, pigs can be very stressed out and they can lose appetite. If the pigs are too cold, they will consume more food, but it will burn that food to preserve energy to keep warm.
The most crucial factor to make sure pigs grow is food. The quality of food and feeding is a huge factor that determines the best results. Pigs need to have food available for them at all times. A feeder pig of 40 pounds usually takes around 9 months to raise. For pigs to reach 250 pounds, it would take another 6 months to feed and raise them. But this also depends on the breed of pigs.
Daily, pigs eat about 4% of their body weight. To meet their essential needs, they require lots of water, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. When a proper diet is maintained, expected weight gains are from 1.5 to 1.7 pounds per day.
How do you feed feeder pigs?
Pigs, according to the development of the digestive system, belong to the group of omnivores, so they can consume plant and animal food. They have a simple stomach which is why they break down concentrated feeds better than voluminous foods.
The feed of the pigs is divided into energy, protein, mineral, and supplements. The most common energy feed, which is used in pig feeding, is corn, which is the basis of pig feeding and makes up 60-80% of the meals. In addition to corn, the most common cereals consumed by pigs are barley, wheat, rye, sorghum, and oats.
Piglets are initially fed breast milk or milk replacers, and growth is increased by the use of a Pre-starter, which is in flour form. After the pig separates from his mother, the Starter and Grower are used, so piglets should eat 2 pounds of Pre-starter, 28 pounds of Starter, and 50 pounds of Grower.
Pig feeding is done with concentrates and two mixtures are used. The first one is ST1 with 16% protein and ST2 with 14% protein. ST1 is used for pigs from 55 to 130 pounds, while ST2 is used for pigs from 130 to 220 pounds.
The largest increase in body weight of pigs is achieved if they consume mixtures ad libitum, in which case the duration of a feeding is the shortest. The composition of the feed for pigs should not be constant but should change, depending on the price of raw materials and feeder pigs on the market.
Dry or wet food can be used in pig feeding. Wheat is by far the most popular food for pigs. Almost equal to barley, it contains a large number of nutrients and supplies the body with energy. Unrelated to their age, every food given to pigs needs to be supplied with lots of water.
When feeding pigs, there are general foods that should be avoided. Food high in sugar can slow down the growth rate. Fish, milk, and meats carry viruses that cause health issues. Potatoes could damage the stomach and it can sometimes result in death. Potatoes can also destroy red blood cells and cause heart failure.