There’s no doubt that pigs are one of the most versatile animals on a homestead. They grow out quickly and are a valuable source of meat. Plus, they’ll eat just about anything.
But what do you feed your pigs – and perhaps more importantly, how do you do it?
In this post, we’ll outline different options for feeding your pigs and discuss the pros and cons of each.
Feeding Techniques for Pigs
There are several different feeding techniques that can be used when raising pigs, and each technique has its own unique advantages and drawbacks.
Free Choice Feeding vs Limited Feeding
One popular feeding technique is free choice feeding, which involves providing pigs with a continuous supply of feed that they can eat at their leisure.
This method has several benefits, such as enabling pigs to eat the optimal amount of feed for their individual needs, supporting higher overall growth rates, and preventing unnecessary competition for food.
However, free choice feeding also has certain drawbacks, such as posing a greater risk of obesity.
Another popular feeding technique for pigs is limited or restricted feeding, where feed is made available at specific times or in specific amounts rather than on a continuous basis.
This technique may help to prevent overeating while also allowing farmers to control feed costs more effectively.
However, restricted feeding may also result in pigs being hungrier at mealtimes and less interested in exploring their surroundings or interacting with other individuals.
You may notice more competition at the feeder. Of course, there’s more work involved for you, too, since you can’t automate the feeding process this way.
Ultimately, the right feeding technique will depend on the specific needs and goals of each farm or operation.
Regardless of the method used, however, it is essential that pigs always have access to fresh water and high-quality feed in order to support optimal health and growth at all stages of life.
What Type of Feed Containers to Use For Pigs
When raising pigs, it is important to choose the right type of feed containers. There are many different options available, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific needs.
For example, troughs are usually made out of durable metal and offer a large capacity for feeding multiple pigs at once. However, they can be difficult to clean properly and are prone to rusting over time.
In contrast, feed barrels are easy to scrub down and tend not to get stained or corroded by pig waste. However, they hold less feed at a time and may take up more space than troughs do in your pig shed or pen.
Ultimately, the best type of feed container will depend on your unique situation and what works best for you and your pigs.
Make Sure You Secure the Feeder
When raising pigs, it is important to take steps to ensure that their food is secure.
Pigs are naturally curious animals, and if given the opportunity, they will root through their feeder in search of food. This can lead to spills and waste, as well as potentially dangerous situations if the pigs are able to tip over the feeder.
To help prevent these problems, it is important to securely fasten the feeder to the ground. You can do this with specialized fasteners or by using heavy-duty troughs or even cinder blocks to weigh them down.
This will help to keep the pigs from being able to tip it over, and will also make it more difficult for them to make a mess of the feed.
In addition, it is important to keep the area around the feeder clean and free of debris. This will help to reduce the risk of spoiled food or contaminated water.
By taking these simple precautions, you can help to ensure that your pigs have a safe and healthy environment.
Ideal Feeding Bin Height for Pigs
When kept in a pen, pigs should have access to a feeding bin that is no taller than they are. This will allow them to practice their foraging skills and avoid boredom.
Pigs that are unable to root around in their food are more likely to become frustrated and anxious, which can lead to health problems. By providing a proper feeding bin, owners can help ensure that their pigs stay healthy and happy.
How Much Feeder Space Per Pig
Each pig should have at least four square feet of feeder space. This allows them to comfortably eat and drink without being crowded or jostled.
In addition, it provides them with an opportunity to express their natural foraging behaviors.
When pigs don’t have enough space, they can become stressed, which can lead to health problems. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that your pigs have plenty of room to roam and root around.
In order to achieve the best feed conversion in pigs, it is important to carefully control their environment. Factors such as temperature, oxygen levels, and humidity all play a role in how efficiently pigs use their feed.
To maximize efficiency, it is important to choose an environment that promotes healthy growth and development.
Make sure the barns aren’t too hot or too cold so your pigs don’t waste unnecessary energy trying to cool or warm themselves.
Controlling moisture levels can help prevent unsanitary conditions and reduce the spread of disease. Replace bedding and clean the barns often to keep your pigs healthy.
How Often to Feed Pigs
There is no definitive answer to the question of how often to feed pigs, as this will depend on a number of different factors.
At a basic level, it is generally recommended that pig feed be provided at least twice per day, with larger or more active pigs typically requiring additional servings throughout the day.
However, other factors should also be taken into consideration when determining the optimal frequency of feedings.
These include things like weather conditions, the size and age of the pig, and the type and quality of feed that is being used.
Ultimately, there is no one right way to feed pigs; it is important to tailor your feeding schedule according to the specific needs of your herd.
Of course, automatic feeding will eliminate many of these concerns – so if you’re not sure how often to feed your pigs, you may want to give this method a try.
When to Stop Feeding Pigs
Because pigs are easily prone to becoming stressed, it is important to stop feeding them at least 8 hours before transport or slaughter.
This will help to reduce the risk of aspirating food into their lungs, which can lead to pneumonia. compromised immune systems.
It is also important to keep pigs well-hydrated during transport, as dehydration can also contribute to stress and illness.
Pasture Raising Pigs
As with any animal husbandry practice, there are both advantages and disadvantages to pasture raising pigs.
The major benefit here is that raising pigs on pasture can dramatically reduce your feed expenditures and help improve the quality of your pasture over time.
You can keep more pigs in this space and, by moving them frequently, eliminate the need for regular barn cleaning. They’ll take care of their own manure management for you!
There are also some disadvantages to raising pigs on pasture. One is that they can be destructive to fences and other farm infrastructure.
Additionally, pigs can carry diseases that can be passed on to other animals, and they may also root up crops or gardens.
Finally, pigs don’t get as much nutrition out of grass (aka pasture) as other animals, like ruminating animals like sheep and cows, do.
So while there are plenty of benefits associated with raising pigs on pasture, don’t expect to get quite as much out of the experience as you would with other animals.
Can You Feed Pigs Hay?
Pigs are traditionally fed a diet of grains, legumes, and roots, which provides them with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
However, pigs can also be given hay as part of their diet. Hay is a good source of fiber, which helps to promote digestive health, and it can also help to keep pigs warm in cold weather.
While hay should not be the sole component of a pig’s diet, since it doesn’t provide them with many nutrients beyond fiber, it can be a valuable supplement that helps to keep pigs healthy and happy.
Be Careful When Changing the Feed
Any experienced pig farmer knows that it’s important to be careful when changing pig feed. Pigs are creatures of habit and they can easily become upset if their routine is disrupted.
When introducing new feed, it’s important to do so gradually, mixing it in with the old feed over the course of a few days.
This will give the pigs time to adjust to the new food and help avoid any digestive problems.
Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to how the pigs react to the new feed. If they seem uncomfortable or stop eating, it’s best to go back to the old feed until they adjust.
Changing pig feed can be a tricky process, but by taking it slow and paying attention to the pigs, it can be done successfully.
How to Make Your Own Feeding Trough for Pigs
When it comes to raising pigs, one of the most important factors is providing them with a good source of food.
Feeding troughs are an essential tool for ensuring that your pigs always have access to fresh and nutritious food, but they can be expensive and difficult to find in some areas.
Luckily, there is a simple solution: making your own feeding trough at home. All it takes is a few basic materials and some basic carpentry skills.
The first step in building a feeding trough for your pigs is to choose the right materials. You will need several pieces of wood or modifying plastic, such as PVC pipe or dense wooden boards.
Remember that pigs are destructive and will easily flip a feeder when given the chance. They’ll also chew on it.
It’s also important to choose materials that are durable and easy to clean, as pigs can be messy eaters!
Next, you will need to decide on the size and shape of your trough. This will depend on how many pigs you have and how often you want to refill the feeder.
Once you have these elements in place, all you need is a power drill and some screws or nails to fasten the components together.
Finally, all that’s left is to set up the finished trough in a convenient location where your pigs will be able to conveniently get their fill!
Benefits of Automated Feeders
There are several benefits to using an automated feeder.
For one thing, it helps to ensure that pigs receive a consistent diet. This is important for their health and well-being, as pigs that don’t get enough of the right nutrients can quickly become ill.
Additionally, automated feeders help to reduce the spread of disease, as they minimize the need for humans to enter the pig pen.
This reduces the risk of infection being passed from person to animal.
Finally, automated feeders can help to cut down on labor costs, as they require less time and effort to maintain than traditional feeding methods. Overall, then, there are several advantages to using an automated feeder for pigs.
What to Keep in Mind When Using Automated Feeders
Automated feeders can help to ensure that pigs get the nutrients they need, but there are some things to keep in mind when using them.
First of all, it’s important to remember that pigs are social animals. They need interaction and stimulation, so they shouldn’t be left alone for too long.
If you’re just raising one pig and you choose to use an automated feeder, it’s still important that you interact with your animal regularly.
Additionally, automated feeders can be expensive, so farmers need to make sure they’re getting the best value for their money.
Lastly, it’s important to regularly check the feeders to make sure they’re working properly and that the pigs have enough food.
When and Why to Dump Your Feeder
If you’re using an automated feeder, don’t forget that you will need to dump it out from time to time.
Some feeder designs allow in small amounts of water or air – even if they don’t, your pigs will inevitably introduce mud, water, and bacteria to the feeder as they eat. If there’s food left inside, it will spoil and can become moldy inside the feeder.
Dumping the feeder on a regular basis can remove this dirty, spoiled feed and give you an opportunity to clean it out.
This can prevent disease and reduce the likelihood of rodents and other pests being attracted to the pig pen.
Tips for Watering Pigs
When it comes to watering pigs, there are a few key considerations.
First of all, you need to provide enough water for your pigs to drink as needed, which may vary depending on environmental conditions and the age and size of your pigs.
In addition, you should make sure that the water you provide is clean and free from contaminants, such as harmful bacteria or pesticides. Clean out your waterers on a regular basis and make sure the pigs aren’t drinking from puddles, which can make them sick and reduce your feed conversion rates.
If you notice your pigs drinking out of puddles, there’s a good chance that they don’t have enough fresh water. You need to either clean your waterers or make sure there are more waterers to go around.
What to Feed Pigs
When raising pigs, it is important to understand what they need in terms of nutrition.
Pigs have different dietary requirements than many other types of livestock, and it is crucial that you provide them with a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.
Some key components of a good pig feed include protein-rich ingredients like soybeans, whole grains, and legumes.
In addition, pigs also need plenty of vitamins and minerals to support their growth and development.
By ensuring that your pigs are properly fed with a nutritious diet, you can help keep them healthy and happy while improving their overall productivity as well.
Here is a list of things you can safely feed your pigs:
- ✅ Tomatoes (only completely ripe tomatoes)
- ✅ Celery
- ✅ Dairy
- ✅ Sweet Potatoes
- ✅ Blueberries
- ✅ Bones
- ✅ Bacon
- ✅ Oranges
- ✅ Peanut Butter or Peanuts
- ✅ Chicken Bones
- ✅ Bread
- ✅ Carrots
- ✅ Onions
- ✅ Potatoes
- ✅ Broccoli
- ✅ Watermelon
- ✅ Apples
- ✅ Grass
- ✅ Hay
- ✅ Pumpkins
- ✅ Grapes
- ✅ Corn
- ✅ Eggs
- ✅ Rice
- ✅ Fish
Pig Nutritional Requirements By Age
Pigs are omnivores, which means that they can digest both plant and animal-based foods.
However, pigs have specific nutritional requirements that change as they age. For example, young pigs need more protein to support their growing bodies, while adult pigs require less protein and more carbohydrates.
Additionally, pigs of all ages need access to clean water and fresh vegetables. A pig’s diet should be tailored to their age and stage of development in order to ensure optimal health.
One of the most important nutrients for pigs is protein. Protein is essential for muscle growth and development, and young pigs require more protein than adults.
In general, piglets should consume a diet that is 20-22% protein, while older pigs only need a diet that is 14-16% protein.
Along with protein, pigs also need carbohydrates for energy. Carbohydrates should make up 50-60% of a pig’s diet.
Lastly, pigs also need access to clean water at all times. A lack of water can lead to dehydration, which can be fatal for pigs.
Even if it isn’t, not providing enough water can cause your pigs to lose their appetite, making them grow out at a much slower pace.
What is Creep Feed?
Creep feed is a type of feed that is designed for young pigs. It is typically fed to piglets that are weaned but have not yet reached their full size.
Creep feed is high in protein and fat, which helps piglets to grow quickly. It is also typically very palatable, which helps to encourage pigs to eat it.
Creep feed can be made from a variety of ingredients, such as corn, soybeans, barley, and wheat.
In addition, some creep feeds also contain vitamins and minerals to help ensure that pigs are getting all the nutrients they need.
Creep feed is an important part of raising healthy pigs, and it can help to improve the quality of meat.
Supplementing With Table Scraps
One way to ensure that your pigs are getting the nutrients they need is to supplement their diet with table scraps.
Table scraps can provide a variety of essential nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
In addition, table scraps can help to keep your pigs healthy and active by providing them with a source of stimulation.
That said, you should avoid feeding certain foods in excess (see below) to make sure that your pigs are getting the bulk of their nutrition from the formulated feed you’ve provided.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Pigs
When it comes to feeding pigs, there are certain foods that you should definitely avoid. These include any foods that are high in sugar or salt, which can lead to health problems for your pigs, including obesity and hypertension. Avoid sugary desserts or too much bread.
In addition, you should also avoid feeding pigs things like raw meat or bones, as these can be a source of harmful bacteria or viruses.
Instead, it is best to stick to a diet of grains and vegetables in order to keep your pigs healthy and happy. Of course, don’t feed your pigs anything that you wouldn’t eat yourself!
By following these simple guidelines when feeding your pigs, you can help ensure that they remain healthy and well-fed at all times.
How Much Food Does a Pig Need Each Day?
How much food a pig needs will vary depending on its breed, age, and activity level.
On average, a growing pig will consume 2.5-3% of its body weight in feed each day. For example, a 200-pound pig will require 5-6 pounds of feed per day,
The type of feed will vary depending on the stage of production, but typically includes a mix of grains, protein sources, and vitamins and minerals.
Providing a healthy diet is essential for keeping pigs productive and ensuring high-quality meat.
What’s the Cheapest Way to Feed Pigs?
Pigs are commonly fed a diet of grains and other corn-based products. However, this diet is not necessarily the cheapest option for farmers on a budget!
Fortunately, there are ways to cut costs. Pigs can also be fed a diet of fruits and vegetables, which are often cheaper than grains.
You can even feed pigs old distillery or brewery grains! These are easy to find for free and are both delicious and nutritious for pigs.
Of course, pigs can be fed kitchen scraps, which would otherwise go to waste. While it may take some time to adjust to a new diet, pigs are relatively easy to please and will eat just about anything.
Feeding Pigs: Easy as Pie!
Pigs are omnivorous and will eat just about anything, but there are a few things you should avoid feeding them. If you want to keep your pigs healthy and happy, follow these tips for what and how to feed pigs.
Feeding pigs is as easy as pie! While you could even feed your pigs a taste of pie every now and then (literally!) remember: moderation is key.
Rebekah is a full-time homesteader. On her 22 acres, she raises chickens, sheep, and bees, not to mention she grows a wide variety of veggies. She has a huge greenhouse and does lots of DIY projects with her husband in her ever-growing homesteading endeavor. Learn more about Rebekah here.