Written byRebeca Pierce
Fattening pigs, also called butcher pigs, are pigs that are kept and raised with the intent to be slaughtered. Forage pigs were bred to grow quickly and achieve desired slaughter weight with as little maintenance as possible.
While the general care and maintenance required tofeeding pigsis relatively low, they require a significant amount of food.
If you're like most farmers, you're always looking for ways to make your farm more efficient. One way to do this is by usingpig feeders. But how do they work?
Let's take a look at how these feeders work and the benefits they offer.
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How much feed does a fattening pig eat a day?
Creating a diet, schedule and way to feed your finishing pigs each day can be quite a challenge. In general, the feed you buy for your pigs is the most expensive aspect of raising feed animals, so it's important to get it right. This is what your pigs need:
Apig feedHe will eat five to eight pounds of food each day after weaning.
It takes between 600 and 900 pounds of feed to raise a single fattening pig to completion. While pigs are generally not picky about their feeding choices, it is generally best to feed them oats, wheat, and grains, especially corn, so that the feeding is maintained.
There are many feeds on the market that are specifically designed for fattening pigs and these feeds are balanced with the correct nutritional values these pigs need.
Amino acids are vital to a fattening pig's diet, as they can be absorbed into the pig's body to help build protein levels. While amino acids themselves are not proteins, the provision of fresh water is a must when raising fattening pigs. All of your energy and time spent feeding pigs can be wasted if clean, readily available water is not provided.
Here is a video with more details:
How long does it take to outgrow a feeding pig?
We've talked about how a finisher requires several hundred pounds of feed to reach slaughter weight. So how does it look in real time?
Heideal weightfor an adult finisher it ranges from 220 pounds to 300 pounds or more, with the desirable average weight appearing to be closer to 250 pounds.
The final weight of the pig depends on a variety of factors including birth weight, genetics,where and how do they stay, specific breed, diet and farmer preference.
To reach the desired final weight of a fattening pig, it usually takes between four and six months of feeding. That's four to six months of feeding your finishing animals daily, usually more than once a day.
Feed the pigs by hand
For pet owners whohand feedyour pigs should be offered two to three meals a day.
A pig's feed should not be fed all at once, as its stomach needs time to digest between meals, just like us.
Depends onhow many pigs do you have, you can move tens of pounds (or hundreds for large farms) of feed two or three times a day, what a workout!
Hand-feeding fattening animals is not only time consuming, but there are other disadvantages to hand-feeding pigs.
One of the downsides to hand feeding your pigs is that it can lead to aggression in your group of pigs. When a predetermined amount of feed is placed in the pig pens, all the pigs can eat at the same time, creating tension as each pig fights to make sure they get their fair share.
Another disadvantage of hand feeding pigs is that it can result in slower weight gain and potentially lower final weight.
One reason for this could be aggression between pigs: some of the more docile pigs could end up getting cheated out of their fair share.
Another possibility is that the pet owner is not providing the right amount of food at the right time. Fattening pigs are bred to not want to overeat, they eat exactly what they need and know when they need it. If your pig's meals are too close together, he may not be eating as much as he needs that day.
When hand feeding, times can vary and you could inadvertently feed your pigs at a time that is not ideal for their habits and dietary needs.
What is a pig feeder?
When hand fedyour pigsSounds tedious, consider buying a pig feeder.
Pig feeders are large bins or bins that sit on top of a feeder. The container can be loaded withenough foodfor several days (depending on barrel size and number of pigs) and automatically fills the feeder as needed.
See below for more information on how this device works and the benefits it offers.
How to prevent pigs from wasting feed?
Since feed accounts for a large portion of the costs associated with raising finisher animals, it's important to make sure you waste it as little as possible.
Pigs are notoriously messy eaters – if someone has ever told you that you eat like a pig, let's just say it probably wasn't a compliment.
So how do you store these?naughty animalsof ruining your meal?
One way to ensure your pigs don't waste their feed is to feed them the exact amount of feed they need, or as close as possible. If pigs don't have excess feed available, they are more likely to clean up the mess they leave behind while eating.
Another way that feeding the correct amount of feed helps to reduce waste is to avoid excess feed left over from now sated pigs, which has the potential to develop mold or attract flies and other pests.
When bacteria, mold or pests are introduced, animals can get sick and they won't eat all of their future meals either.
Whether feeding by hand or using an automatic feeder, portioning, or adjusting the settings to accommodate portioning is a crucial first step.
Another way to prevent your pigs from wasting feed is to use deep troughs. If a pig has to bend its head in the trough, it becomes more difficult for the feed to reach the bottom. Any food that falls from their mouths does justicefall back into the feederto be eaten with a future bite.
How does a pig feeder work?
pig feedThey can be great tools to reduce food waste and save time for the livestock owner, so how do they work?
For larger, industrial hog farms, automatic pig feeders may be a bit more advanced than what you would find on a family farm or smaller farm.
Industrial-grade pig feeders often dispense the appropriate, predetermined amount of feed for each individual pig. They do this by reading a chip, which is often attached to the tag in the pig's ear, and dropping into the feeder the portion of feed that the particular pig stuck its head into.
These pig feeders will dispense a predetermined amount of feed (depending on settings) two or three times a day. The large silo above the feed trough holds the feed and when it is time to feed, the team dispenses the correct weight of feed into the trough; usually these are gravity fed.
When the feed is released, the doors covering the feeder entrances open to allow the pigs to eat. In many cases, the trough has several troughs large enough for a pig's head. This way, the pigs don't have to fight over their fair share of food. This also ensures that each pig receives the correct amount of feed, assuming each pig requires the same amount of feed at each feeding.
Once feeding is complete and the pig sticks its head out of the trough, the doors will lock and will not reopen until the next scheduled feeding time begins.
There are other types of pig feeders that you can use until all the feed is gone, allowing pigs to eat their fill. These can be hard to find, especially at a reasonable price, but it is possible to build your own. More on that below!
Benefits of using an automatic pig feeder
There are many advantages associated with using an automatic pig feeder over manual feeding.your pigs
The first and most obvious reason is that you don't have to go to the pigsties and hand feed your pigs multiple times a day, every day and on a strict schedule.
A pig feeder gives the farmer some freedom in his schedule and allows pigs to follow the feeding schedule they need to grow and stay healthy. The manual labor involved in moving so much food repeatedly can also put a strain on your body.
While you will need to fill the main holding tank of the pig feeder, this should only be done once every few days (depending on the size of the tank and the number of pigs eating from it).
Another important benefit of using a pig feeder is that you ensure that each pig receives the same amount of feed at each meal. When pigs are fed together from a trough, aggression can occur during feeding and the most aggressive pigs can eat more than their share, leaving docile pigs without enough feed.
Using an automatic pig feeder can also help draw attention to pigs that are not finishing eating, which may be a sign of illness or physical pain.
Also, if the pigs have their own feeding area and don't have to compete with other pigs for food, their overall stress is likely to decrease. A happy pig leads to a healthy pig, which is just as, if not more, important than simply providing the correct amounts of feed every day.
Buy automatic feeder for pigs
There are many options to choose from when it comes to pig feeders. Below are some options to consider.
Brower SF74 pig feeder
This pig feederhas four channel openings, each large enough toa pig's headfit to eat It holds up to seven bushels (or about 420 pounds) and claims to feed up to 20 hogs. It is weather resistant for indoor and outdoor use.
Brower pig feeder with 2 doors 22H
this feederit may be better for those with a smaller group of pigs as it only has two feeder openings. It holds 3.7 bushels (about 222 pounds) of feed and is intended to feed up to eight hogs. This feeder is weather resistant and should keep moisture and pests out.
Little Giant HGFS SNG Gate Feeder for Pigs
this feederIt is for those who only have one or two pigs per pen, perfect for a small hobby farm as it only has one opening. Supports up to 50 lbs.feedingand is small enough to be wall mounted if desired. This product does not claim to be weather resistant, although it does claim to be moisture resistant.
Consider building your own DIY pig vending machine instead.
The initial purchase of a pig feeder may discourage some livestock owners from taking the plunge; it can be expensive.
However, if you're handy and have the right tools, you may be able to save some money by building your own pig feeder.
There are several tutorials that can be found online with a quick Google search, and you can find the design we use and SWEAR on here, but the general idea is to build or modify a large weatherproof container to hold the DURABLE liner - steel Galvanized is a popular choice here for durability. This container should have a large opening at the top.for feeding added, and this opening should have a door to keep pests and animals out.
The bowl should be attached to a channel below. This feeder can have one or more openings depending on how many pigs you have to feed.
The feeder fills the trough using gravity and the timer system can be used to release a set amount. Building a mechanism to release specific amounts of food at each feeding can be difficult andsome cattleOwners choose to simply let the pigs eat for a specific amount of time, or instead dole out a specific amount of feed.
Once the pig has finished eating and sticks its head out of the trough, the door is locked again until the next feeding time; fortunately, fattening pigs are unlikely to overeat.
When it comes to raising fattening pigs, an automatic feeder can become your best ally. Pigs eat a lot, theyeat frequently, and they need a feeding schedule. Automatic pig feeding can save you time and energy and keep your pigs happier and healthier than manual feeding.
Using an automatic feeder doesn't mean you don't have to visit your pigs on a daily basis, it just takes a lot of the work out of feeding them.
Happy pigs are generally healthier pigs, making a pig feeder beneficial to the pet owner and animals.
Do you use a pig feeder? What tips do you have? Let me know in the comments!
Would you like to learn more about agriculture? Be sure to check out these featured articles!
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