Date: 08/04/2019

Within a productive system of animal husbandry, food management corresponds to the greater part of the costs. Specifically in the pork production , the ingredients for its nutrition represent about 60-70% of the total cost of breeding.

In this regard, the elaboration of animal feeding is a fundamental factor in obtaining higher rates of return on investment.

Nutritional planning involves the availability, procurement, and supply of inputs in sufficient quantity and quality to meet the nutritional needs of the animals throughout their different growth stages.

And the pig feeding?

The main requirements often described in diet balancing are based on energy and protein supply. Therefore, the ingredients for pork nutrition should provide macronutrients: carbohydrates, lipids and proteins.

However, the nutritional requirement of the animals is influenced by several factors, such as:

  • Age: younger animals require diets with higher protein levels when compared to adult animals;
  • Genetic Potential: fast-growing pig breeds – such as Large White animals, require diets with higher protein content than breeds with a lower growth rate – such as the Hampshire breed, for example;
  • Climate: climatic variation in the breeding environment causes the animal to expend more energy to maintain its body temperature in balance. In this case, in order to guarantee its growth rate, it is necessary to provide higher levels of energy in the diet;
  • Creation stage: the need for nutrients also varies according to the animal’s physiological state in the different stages of breeding. Pregnant sows, for example, need different energy and nutritional levels when compared to dry sows, freshly weaned piglets or animals in the finishing phase;
  • Ingredients for pork nutrition included in the ration: pigs, because they are monogastric animals, have low fiber digestion. Therefore, unlike cattle feeding, in which it is possible to feed them only with pastures, the pigs need supplementation in the feeding by using ingredients with low fiber content and higher levels of energy and protein;
  • Water availability: the use of water by animals is of fundamental importance, as it directly interferes in the consumption of available food and helps in body thermoregulation. Access to water should be easy and available all the time, as well as being essentially drinkable, fresh and at temperatures below 68°F. In water supply planning, the location where water will be disposed must be taken into account, as well as water temperature, contamination risks and pressure in the supply lines;

The evaluation of the factors influencing the nutritional requirements of the animals makes an adequate nutritional balance possible. It is important that the diet is provided at levels that meet the animal’s needs for its maintenance, growth and reproduction.

The inclusion of vitamins and minerals in the formulation of diets is of great importance because they are substances that play key roles in many metabolic processes in the body. The most used minerals in pig feed are : calcium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc and manganese.

The lack of vitamins and minerals compromises biochemical processes, which makes the animal more susceptible to diseases, causing a reduction in animal welfare and, as a consequence, a decrease in productive performance.

Some of the foods that have high levels of minerals are fishmeal, meat and bones. Calcitic limestone, dicalcium phosphate and common salt are also commonly used as exclusive sources for the balancing of minerals in diets.

Focus on feed

Carbohydrates and lipids rich foods are used as energy sources.

And the lack of energy availability , given by the low supply of energy foods, makes the energy use by the body limited to maintain the animal. This ends up negatively compromising the proper functioning of other phases, such as growth and reproduction.

On the other hand, energy consumed in excess (beyond what is necessary) causes it to be stored in the body of the animal in the form of fat, which is also not ideal because it decreases the quality of the carcass.

Foods such as corn grain, rice bran, molasses powder, soybean oil, coconut meal, wheat bran, are examples of energy foods that can be used in pig feed management.

Also, protein intake is necessary because it supplies the animal’s amino acid needs. Amino acids, which are subclassified as essential and non-essential amino acids, are organic compounds that form proteins and play a key role in the construction and maintenance of all tissues and organs.

Essential amino acids are not able to be synthesized by the animal’s organism and need to be provided using diets. The adequate supply of these amino acids allows the synthesis of proteins effectively.

And, consequently:

  • Improves growth rates;
  • Improves the reproductive process;
  • Lactation of animals.

One of the ingredients that have demonstrated great potential as a source of protein for inclusion in pork balance is the Hydrolyzed Chicken Protein.

Obtained from the use of meat, offal and liver of chickens, it is an ingredient that presents high protein content, and high coefficient of digestibility. In addition, being an ingredient with a high degree of palatability, it has the advantage of being attractive to consumption by animals.

The hydrolyzed chicken protein is synthesized from the enzymatic hydrolysis of proteins originally extracted from meat and chicken kidneys.

Enzymatic hydrolysis aims to break down these proteins and, as a result, we have the synthesis of smaller chains of functional peptides and free amino acids, which in turn have higher digestibility when compared to more complex protein chains.

The inclusion of foods with high digestibility is an important factor in good food planning, because the higher the digestibility of the food, the greater the absorption of nutrients by the animal.

Consequently, b etter are the indexes of feed conversion , growth, performance and yield of pigs in the productive sector, besides generating less waste, which makes the production system more sustainable.

In the case of piglet feeding, the care should be doubled since its digestive functions are underdeveloped, due to insufficient production of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes, which makes incomplete the exploitation of grain-based diets by the animals.

From 7 to 14 days post-weaning is considered the critical period, characterized by lower feed intake and low digestibility, therefore, the feed supplied must be of high quality (rich in nutrients with high digestibility and palatability).

The productive performance of the animal is directly related to the feeding it receives. Thus, the choice of ingredients for the pork nutrition and the balance of the diets become fundamental factors so that the nutritional requirements of the animal are fulfilled throughout all its phases in the production system.