Pigs are normally fed twice a day. The amount of feed depends on the age and the reproductive state of the pig. A foraging pig will obtain some of its food from natural sources as long as the foraging area is able to provide it. This would include grass, brambles, acorns, apples, and even earth worms. It is important to supplement this with a balanced compound feed, to ensure that the pig receives all the nutrients it requires. Potatoes, carrots and other fruit and vegetables can also be fed, as long as these are not catering waste, from your own or a commercial kitchen or anywhere that sells meat.
Two important points to note are:
Foods such as potatoes do not provide the nutritional value of compound feeds.
It is illegal to feed any household waste of any sort or in any form to pigs. It is permissible to feed fruit and vegetables from non-catering premises. These premises must not handle any materials banned from being fed to pigs i.e. any meat or catering waste.
Pigs prefer their feed wet, so adding water or surplus goat’s milk to their feed will be appreciated, as long as the milk has not entered the kitchen where it would be deemed as catering waste. The diet must not consist of more than 80% of waste milk unless you register with Animal Health .
It is important to provide pig troughs if you have more than one pig, otherwise the more timid members of the herd will not get enough to eat. Alternatively, spread the feed widely around the ground. This should only be done on clean areas, and will inevitably result in more feed being wasted.
The gilt will need about 2.5kg (51/2 lb) per day of Sow Breeder Pencils, Cakes or Meal. This should be kept up until just before farrowing. Do be careful – remember that a maiden gilt is still growing as well as feeding her unborn young, and she needs enough feed to perform both functions. About three weeks before serving, the gilt should have her rations gradually increased to 4kg (approximately 9lb) per day, to help maintain her in the best condition. After service and during gestation the feed could be reduced to 2.4kg (5lb) per day. At no time will she be likely to need less than 1.8kg (4lb) per day.
Once the pig has produced her litter she must take in enough food to keep herself healthy and to provide enough good milk for the piglets. The sow should be fed about 3kg (6lb) of Sow Breeder Pencils, Cakes or Meal a day. If the sow is suckling more than six piglets then she should be fed an extra 0.5kg per day per additional piglet. This can be reduced to 1.5-2kg after weaning.
For further information or if you have any queries about feeding your pigs, then please contact our helpful and friendly team on the Smallholder Nutritional Helpline on 01362 822902