How to Feed Growing Pigs

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By five to six months of age, market hogs weigh about 240 pounds.
By five to six months of age, market hogs weigh about 240 pounds. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

All growing pigs require nutrients in their diet. In addition to fresh, clean water, the pigs require adequate levels of protein, energy, vitamins and minerals. Pigs have a simple stomach and primarily consume cereal grains mixed with a protein supplement. Pigs are weaned from the sows at approximately six weeks of age. By five or six months, the pigs reach a market weight of about 240 pounds. The growing pigs gain at least 1 to 1.5 lbs. per day.

Things You'll Need

  • Pig starter feed
  • Pig grower-finisher feed
  • Fresh water
  • Pig feeders or feed troughs

Purchase a balanced pig starter feed for newly weaned pigs. Pigs weaned at six weeks require a diet with 18 percent crude protein. Provide pigs weaned at a younger age with a 20-percent protein diet. Feed the pig starter feed until the young pigs reach 40 to 50 lbs. A common pig starter feed contains corn, soybean meal and dried whey.

Provide a complete grower-finisher ration to pigs weighing more than 50 lbs. The older pigs require a diet with 16 percent crude protein. Grower-finisher feeds are coarsely ground or formed into pellets. Feed the grower-finisher until the pigs reach the desired market weight.

Save money by mixing a complete protein supplement with ground grain. The protein supplement often contains soybean meal and a list of required vitamins and minerals. Peanut meal, cottonseed meal, dried skim milk or whey, and poultry by-product meal serve as alternative protein supplements. Corn is widely used as grain. Depending on price, supplement the corn with wheat, barley and triticale.

Mix ground grain, a protein supplement and a vitamin/mineral basemix. If bulk cereal grains and protein supplements are available, this may reduce the feed cost. The basemix contains vitamins A, B, D, E and K. It also has a variety of minerals including calcium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, copper, iodine and selenium.

Feed gilts destined for breeding differently than market pigs. Feed breeding gilts 4 to 6 lbs. of feed per day from 180 lbs. until two weeks prior to breeding. Increase the feed to 6 to 8 lbs. two weeks prior to breeding. Provide full feed for market pigs. Give them continuous access to feed or feed the pigs all they want to consume several times per day.

Provide fresh water to pigs at all times. Nipple waterers keep the water clean. Provide a pig feeder or trough with sufficient room for all pigs to eat.

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