Swine Nutrition

Feed consumption in general is controlled by the pig’s need for energy. The feed requirements for growth and production vary with the age or weight of the pig. Best results should be geared to the needs of the animal during different stages of growth.

  • Gestation, Lactation, Starter (10# -30 #)
  • Grower (30# -120#)
  • Finisher (120 # - market)

spacer-green.gifPrimary Nutritional Requirements

The basic ingredients of the swine ration are Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat and Water supplemented with minerals and vitamins.

Carbohydrates (Energy)

Generally 80-85% of the ration is Carbohydrates with the primary source being corn although milo, wheat, barley and oats are used.

Protein (Building Blocks)

Ten amino acids are required in the swine diet but the most crucial is Lysine. Lysine requirements are as follows: Starter 1-1.5%, Grower .74%, Finisher .6%. Protein sources are primarily soybean meal and peanut meal.

Fats (Energy)

Fats supply energy for the diet and may be 2-5% of the ration. Added fat increases palatability but too much may increase the chance of rancidity. Low fat diets result in scaliness, loss of hair, and poor growth.


Requires 8% of body weight per day. (One gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds)


Iron required for red blood cell production. Neonate requires 100-200mg/pig. Ca/P ratio is ideally 1-1.5% to 1. Zinc deficiency results in parakeratosis.


Vit A is stored in the liver for up to 6 months and thus is rarely a problem. However, it does deteriorate in storage. Deficiency of B vitamins results in poor growth in general.

spacer-green.gifFeeding Procedures

  • Replacement Gilts- 3-4#/day of balanced ration
  • Gestational animals- 3-5#/day and place on laxative diet (wheat bran or hay) near gestation.
  • Lactating Sows- 2-3# for sow and 1# for each pig she is nursing.
  • Nursing Pigs- Creep or not to Creep?
  • Starter Pigs- Good quality high protein diets (18-22%)
  • Grower and Feeder Pigs- Full feed until market weight. As weight increases, protein requirements decrease from 16-14% respectively.