June 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm #16647Member: WI
We are on our first batch of LB feeders. They are between ages of eight to 10 months old. We would like some tips on feeding them. We are feeding a 16%protein swine ration. We are also feeding about 4-5+lbs daily. We estimate they are gaining approximately a pound/day. We would like to know if we should raise the protein to a 20% in this last 100lbs before butcher weight or raise the amount we feed them. Any tips would be great.
Melissa SmithJune 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm #17980Member: TX
Jason and Melissa,
Now you’ve done it…asking that question! I imagine you’ll get quite a few responses, each with their own opinion on the subject, so without further adieu, let’s get started.
First, I think you need to ask yourself, “Who am I raising the pork for?” If it is for your own personal consumption, that is one thing, if for clients/customers (for, shall I say it…PROFIT) that is something totally different.
If for personal consumption, you just have to be comfortable with how much you are spending on feed, and if it is financially worth it to you to pay $X/lb. in the end. You mentioned that you are feeding 4-5 pounds daily. That’s per animal, I’m assuming. How much grazing do they have access to? One of the unique attributes of these pigs is their grazing ability, but it’s more than that. If you are looking for tastier pork, pork that is higher in nutrients (including Omega 3’s), pork with a firmer texture, and a more pleasing taste on the pallet, then grazing is essential. We try to make their diet around 95-98% grass/grazing. Oh, they’ll eat whatever feed you put in front of them, they’re pigs for goodness sake! If you’re pigs are at the 8-10 months old range, I’d say you’re about 1/2 way there. To get a LB hog to 275-325 is a 14-18 month commitment, especially if grazing is the majority of their diet. So, to answer the first part of the question, if you raise the protein amount, you will add more fat to the animal. Important if you want to increase the micro-marbling characteristics of the pork. If you really want to fatten them up, make their feed free choice. They’ll eat to their hearts content, though your pocketbook may suffer greatly.
If you are raising them for profit (there’s that word again). Capitalist! Then you have to find out what your market is willing to bear, price wise, and work backwards to see what your input costs are per pound, and what you are willing to sell them for or how much people are willing to pay. There are so many different factors in this, what is your processing costs, are you selling individual cuts, or half/whole pigs? Are you selling at a farmer’s market, where travel is required? How are you going to keep it frozen? Private food labels, entry fees, mileage, time…man, the list goes on and on. Look around and see what is being sold, how much, etc… and go from there. It’s quite a game.
And, I guess, to directly answer your question… it won’t hurt! Feed them as much as you like, the more the merrier, as the pigs would probably say.
And maybe this isn’t the kind of information you wanted anyway. In that case, don’t pay attention to me.
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RossJune 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm #17981Member: WI
Thank you Ross! You have really given us something to mull over! I am sure if the pigs had a vote they would want free choice, spoiled as they are. We appreciate the input!June 7, 2012 at 8:39 am #17985