How to Adjust Gain in Show Pigs: Weighing your market hog can be a tense experience, especially when you start counting down the days until the show.
Does the hog weigh too much? Too little? Should you be alarmed by the weight you see on the scale? For example, do you need to adjust the ration to remedy the situation?
Before you make any decisions, take inventory of the situation.
Above all, consider the following questions:
- What is the maximum weight limit at the show?
- How fast has your hog been gaining up to this point?
- Does your show have a weigh back policy?
- What does your pig need in terms of muscle, fat cover and fill?
Use numbers to determine change
The maximum weight limit will tell you how much weight the pig has left to gain. This calculation is a simple one:
(Desired weight (lbs.) – Current weight (lbs.)) / Days remaining until show day = Maximum weight gain per day (lbs.)
For example, let’s use 280 lbs. as the show’s maximum weight, and let’s say you have a 266 lb. pig. There are 30 days left until the show. The calculation would be:
(280 lbs. – 266 lbs.)/30 days=0.47 lbs./day
In this scenario, there is reason for concern. The pig can only gain 0.47 lbs. per day until the show. Additional gain would result in discounts due to size.
To avoid situations like this, weigh your pig regularly on a scale or use a measurement tape to estimate weight . However, if you do find yourself in a situation where you need to slow growth in your show pig, here are some products that can help:
Products to help slow growth in show pigs:[table “11” not found /]
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to feeding show pigs. Each pig will likely need its own individual feeding plan.
Below are three common scenarios and feeding program suggestions:
#1 Example: Increasing Pig Gain
#2 Example: Slowing Pig Gain
#3 Example: Stopping Pig Gain
These three examples clearly show that diet formulation varies greatly from animal to animal. A pig that has 1.57 lbs. per day to gain isn’t going to need the same diet as a pig that has 0.47 lbs. per day to gain.
Quick tips for feeding show pigs:
In addition, consider the following additional factors when feeding your show pigs:
- An exhibitor’s ultimate goal is for their pig to look fresh and big-bodied on show day while meeting weight goals. All Purina® Honor® Show pig feeds now include Ambitine® technology formula, an exclusive ingredient that helps support gut integrity and feed intake. Ambitine® technology is a carefully researched blend of plant extracts and acidifiers to help support gut health and essential oils that help stimulate enzyme secretion for feed digestibility.
- Pigs will lose weight on the trailer ride to the show. Most pigs will lose about 6-8 lbs. of gut fill if trailered for 1 or more hours. This weight can be used as a safety net, or it can be added to what the pig can gain per day.
- Further, pigs utilize feed differently, and on specific diets some pigs may gain a little faster or a little slower. Weigh your pigs often and know what they’re gaining. Adjust accordingly.
- Mixing feed with water to make a moist paste will help the pig eat faster.
- If pigs are slow to adjust and eat High Octane® Powerfill® (very different in taste and texture as compared to pelleted feeds).
- Energy (calories) fuels growth. The higher the energy content of the diet, the faster the pigs will grow. To reduce growth rate, reduce energy content by adding High Octane® Champion Drive® or High Octane® Fitter 35® supplements to the daily feed.
- 25 grams per day lysine is the magic number for pigs weighing 200 lbs. or more. If feeding very low daily feeding rates, as long as 25 grams per day is provided to the pig, it should not lose muscle.
- Feed the pig in two equal meals per day as evenly spaced as possible. Feed at the same times every day. The more consistent, the better.
- Likewise, exercise will help burn calories intended for growth. Exercise during the coolest part of the morning or evening to help pigs stay on schedule.
Remember that your pig has to look its best in the show ring. Knowing your pig’s weight, taking time to adjust diets as needed, and making sure you’re using a high quality feed program are all essential to finding yourself in front of the backdrop.
In conclusion, Cherokee Feed & Seed has a great selection of Pig & Swine Feeds to help you raise a champion!