Miniature Pig Nutrition
All swine require six general classes of nutrients: water, carbohydrates, fats, protein (amino acids), minerals, and vitamins. Energy, although not a specific nutrient, is an important nutritional component and is primarily derived from the oxidation of carbohydrates and fats. In addition, amino acids (from protein) that exceed the animal’s requirements for maintenance and tissue protein synthesis provide energy when their carbon skeletons are oxidized. Antibiotics, chemotherapeutic agents, microbial supplements (prebiotics and probiotics), enzymes, and other feed additives are often added to commercially grown farm swine diets to increase the rate and efficiency of gain, to improve digestibility, and for other purposes, but they are not considered nutrients.
Pigs should have free and convenient access to water, beginning before weaning. The amount required varies with age, type of feed, environmental temperature, status of lactation, fever, high urinary output (as from high salt or protein intake), or diarrhea. Normally, growing pigs consume ~2–3 kg of water for every kg of dry feed. Lactating sows consume more water because of the high water content of the milk they produce. Water restriction reduces performance and milk production and may result in death if the restriction is severe.
Energy requirements of pigs are influenced by their weight (which influences the maintenance requirement), their genetic capacity for lean tissue growth or milk production, and the environmental temperature at which they are housed. The amount of feed consumed by growing pigs is controlled principally by the energy content of the diet.
Protein and Amino Acids:
Amino acids, normally supplied by dietary protein, are required for maintenance, muscle growth, development of fetuses and supporting tissues in gestating sows, and milk production in lactating sows. Of the 22 amino acids, 12 are synthesized by the animal; the other 10 must be provided in the diet for normal growth. The 10 dietary essential amino acids for swine are arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Cystine and tyrosine can meet a portion of the requirement for methionine and phenylalanine, respectively.
These nutritional elements have many important functions in the body of pigs.
Calcium and Phosphorus:
Although used primarily in skeletal growth, calcium and phosphorus play important metabolic roles in the body and are essential for all stages of growth, gestation, and lactation.
For gestating and lactating sows, calcium and phosphorus requirements are influenced by stage of gestation (the first 90 days versus the final 25 days of gestation), parity, milk production, and other factors. The higher requirements during late gestation are attributed to rapid development of the fetuses. Swine breeders may choose to feed slightly higher levels to sows to ensure adequacy of these minerals and to prevent posterior paralysis in heavy milking sows.
Protein and Amino Acids:
Amino acids, normally supplied by dietary protein, are required for maintenance, muscle growth, development of fetuses and supporting tissues in gestating sows, and milk production in lactating sows.
The amino acids of greatest practical importance in diet formulation (ie, those most likely to be at deficient levels) are lysine, tryptophan, threonine, and methionine.
Sodium and Chloride:
These minerals are provided by common salt, which contains 40% sodium and 60% chloride. The recommended level of salt is 0.25% in growing and finishing diets, 0.5–0.75% in starter diets, and 0.5% in sow diets. These levels should provide ample sodium and chloride to meet the animal’s requirements.
Potassium, Magnesium, and Sulfur:
Practical diets contain ample amounts of these minerals from the grain and protein sources, and supplemental sources are not needed.
Iron and Copper:
These minerals are involved in many enzyme systems. Both are necessary for formation of Hgb and, therefore, for prevention of nutritional anemia. Because the amount of iron in milk is very low, suckling pigs should receive supplemental iron, preferably by IM injection of 100–200 mg in the form of iron dextran, iron dextrin, or gleptoferron during the first 3 days of life Giving oral or injectable iron and copper to sows will not increase piglet stores at birth nor will it increase the iron in colostrum and milk sufficiently to prevent anemia in neonatal pigs. High levels of iron in lactation feed results in iron-rich sow feces that pigs can obtain from the pen. Iron can also be supplied by mixing ferric ammonium citrate with water in a piglet waterer or by frequently placing a mixture of iron sulfate and a carrier, such as ground corn, on the floor of the farrowing stall.
The copper requirement for growing pigs is low (3–6 ppm) but higher for sows. The estimated copper requirement is 10 ppm for gestation and 20 ppm for lactation for sows.
The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce thyroxine, which affects cell activity and metabolic rate. The iodine requirement of all classes of pigs is 0.14 mg/kg of diet. Stabilized iodized salt contains 0.007% iodine; when it is fed at sufficient levels to meet the salt requirement, it will also meet the iodine needs of pigs.
Although essential for normal reproduction and growth, the quantitative requirement for manganese is not well defined. Manganese at 2–4 mg/kg in the diet is adequate for growth, but a higher level (25 mg/kg) is needed by sows during gestation and lactation.
Zinc is an important trace mineral with many biologic functions. Grain-soybean meal diets must contain supplemental zinc to prevent parakeratosis (see Parakeratosis). Higher levels of zinc may be needed when dietary calcium is excessive. Zinc can increase pig performance during the postweaning period. In some instances, high levels of zinc oxide have been reported to reduce the incidence and severity of postweaning diarrhea. Responses to zinc oxide and antibiotics seem to be additive in nature, much like the responses to high copper and antibiotics
The selenium content of soils and, ultimately, crops is quite variable. In the USA, areas west of the Mississippi River generally contain higher amounts of selenium, whereas areas east of the river tend to yield crops deficient in selenium. Under most practical conditions, 0.2–0.3 mg of added selenium/kg of diet should meet the requirements. This trace mineral is regulated by the FDA, and the maximal amount of selenium that can be added to swine diets is 0.3 mg/kg.
This trace mineral, which is a cofactor with insulin, is required by pigs, but the quantitative requirement has not been established. In some studies, chromium at a supplemental level of 200 mcg/kg (ppb) improved reproductive performance in gestating sows.
Cobalt is present in the vitamin B12 molecule and has no benefit when added to swine diets in the elemental form.
These micro-nutrients serve many important roles in the body.
This fat-soluble vitamin is essential for vision, reproduction, growth and maintenance of epithelial tissue, and mucous secretions. Vitamin A is found as carotenoid precursors in green plant material and yellow corn. The use of stabilized vitamin A is common in manufactured feeds and in vitamin supplements or premixes. Concentrates containing natural vitamin A (fish oils most often) may be used to fortify diets. Green forage, dehydrated alfalfa meal, and high-quality legume hays are also good sources of β-carotene. Both natural vitamin A and β-carotene are easily destroyed by air, light, high temperatures, rancid fats, organic acids, and certain mineral elements. For these reasons, natural feedstuffs probably should not be entirely relied on as sources of vitamin A, especially because synthetic vitamin A is very inexpensive. An international unit of vitamin A is equivalent to 0.30 mcg of retinol or 0.344 mcg of retinyl acetate.
This antirachitic, fat-soluble vitamin is necessary for proper bone growth and ossification. ources of vitamin D include irradiated yeast, sun-cured hays, activated plant or animal sterols, fish oils, and vitamin premixes. For this vitamin, 1 IU is equivalent to 0.025 mg of cholecalciferol. The estimated vitamin D requirement of 200 IU/kg for gestating and lactating sows was increased to 800 IU/kg in the 2012 NRC publication.
This fat-soluble vitamin serves as a natural antioxidant in feedstuffs. There are eight naturally occurring forms of vitamin E, but D-α-tocopherol has the greatest biologic activity. Vitamin E is required by pigs of all ages and is closely interrelated with selenium. The vitamin E requirement is 11–16 IU/kg of diet for growing pigs and 44 IU/kg for sows. Some nutritionists recommend higher dietary levels for sows in the eastern corn belt of the USA, where selenium levels in feeds are likely to be low. Vitamin E supplementation can only partially obviate a selenium deficiency.
Green forage, legume hays and meals, cereal grains, and especially the germ of cereal grains contain appreciable amounts of vitamin E. Activity of vitamin E is reduced in feedstuffs when exposed to heat, high-moisture conditions, rancid fat, organic acids, and high levels of certain trace elements.
This fat-soluble vitamin is necessary to maintain normal blood clotting. The requirement for vitamin K is low, 0.5 mg/kg of diet. Bacterial synthesis of the vitamin and subsequent absorption, directly or by co-prophagy, generally will meet the requirement for pigs. Although rare, hemorrhages have been reported in newborn as well as growing pigs, so supplemental vitamin K is recommended at 2 mg/kg of diet as a preventive measure. Generally, hemorrhaging problems can be traced back to the feeding of diets with moldy grain or other ingredients that contain molds.
This water-soluble vitamin is a constituent of two important enzyme systems involved with carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. Swine diets are normally deficient in this vitamin, and the crystalline form is included in premixes. Natural sources include green forage, milk by-products, brewer’s yeast, legume meals, and some fermentation and distillery by-products.
Niacin (Nicotinic acid):
Niacin is a component of co-enzymes involved with metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Pigs can convert excess tryptophan to niacin, but the conversion is inefficient. The niacin in most cereal grains is completely unavailable to pigs. Swine diets are normally deficient in this vitamin, and the crystalline form is included in premixes. Natural sources of niacin include fish and animal byproducts, brewer’s yeast, and distiller’s solubles.
This vitamin is a component of co-enzyme A, an important enzyme in energy metabolism. Swine diets are deficient in this vitamin, and the crystalline salt, D-calcium pantothenate, is included in vitamin premixes. Natural sources of pantothenic acid include green forage, legume meals, milk products, brewer’s yeast, fish solubles, and certain other byproducts.
Vitamin B 12 :
This vitamin, also called cyanocobalamin, contains cobalt and has numerous important metabolic functions. Feedstuffs of plant origin are devoid of this vitamin, but animal products are good sources. Although some intestinal synthesis of this vitamin occurs, vitamin B12 is generally included in vitamin premixes for swine.
This vitamin has important roles in the body, but it is of little practical significance for swine because grains and other feed ingredients supply ample amounts to meet the requirement in pigs.
Vitamin B 6 :
A group of compounds called the pyridoxines have vitamin B6 activity and are important in amino acid metabolism. They are present in plentiful quantities in the natural feed ingredients usually fed to pigs.
Choline is essential for the normal functioning of all tissues. Pigs can synthesize some choline from methionine in the diet. Sufficient choline is found in the natural dietary ingredients to meet the requirements of growing pigs. Natural sources of choline include fish solubles, fish meal, soybean meal, liver meal, brewer’s yeast, and meat meal. Choline chloride, which is 75% choline, is the common form of supplemental choline used in feeds. If choline is added as a supplement to sow diets, it should not be combined with other vitamins in a premix, especially if trace minerals are present, because choline chloride is hygroscopic and destroys some of the activity of vitamin A and other less stable vitamins.
This vitamin is present in a highly available form in corn and soybean meal, but the biotin in grain sorghum, oats, barley, and wheat is less available to pigs. There is evidence that when these latter cereal grains are fed to swine, especially breeding animals, biotin may be marginal or deficient. Reproductive performance in sows has been found to improve with biotin additions. Although not as clear, there is evidence that reproductive performance also is improved with addition of biotin to corn-soybean meal diets. In some instances, biotin supplementation decreased footpad lesions in adult pigs. For insurance, biotin supplementation is recommended, especially for sow diets. Raw eggs should not be fed to pigs because egg white contains avidin, a protein that complexes with biotin and renders it unavailable.
This group of compounds has folic acid activity. Sufficient folacin is present in natural feedstuffs to meet the requirement for growth, but some studies have shown a benefit in litter size when folic acid was added to sow diets.
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C):
Pigs are thought to synthesize this vitamin at a rapid enough rate to meet their needs under normal conditions. However, a few studies have shown benefits in performance of early-weaned pigs under stressful conditions when this vitamin was added to the diet.
Linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, and probably other long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids are required by pigs. However, the longer chain fatty acids can be synthesized in vivo from linoleic acid, so linoleic acid is considered the dietary essential fatty acid. The requirement is generally met by the fat present in natural dietary ingredients. The oil in corn is a rich source of linoleic acid.
Features & Benefits
• Complete nutrition - Supplemental vitamins and minerals not required.
• Contains dried whey - Contains milk proteins to help in transitioning weanlings.
• Amino acid balanced - Contains those needed for a healthy start and growth.
• Added fat - To support energy needs.
• Pellet form - Easy to feed; minimizes dust and waste.
• Zinc methionine and natural vitamin E - Provides for optimal skin condition.
• Yucca extract - Aimed to reduce ammonia in urine.
• Added flaxseed - To support skin and immune system health.
Product Form: Mini-cube size: 5/32" diameter x 1/2" length
Product Size: 25 lb. net weight paper sack
Crude protein not less than
Crude fat not less than
Crude fiber not more than20%
Ground corn, dehulled soybean meal, dried whey, sucrose, flaxseed, dicalcium phosphate, soybean oil, cane molasses, dried beet pulp, dehydrated alfalfa meal, calcium carbonate, dl-methionine, salt, choline chloride, zinc methionine complex, dried yucca shidigera extract, l-lysine, pyridoxine hydrochloride, ferrous sulfate, biotin, calcium pantothenate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K), d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate (form of vitamin E), cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, folic acid, riboflavin, zinc oxide, niacin, thiamin mononitrate, manganese sulfate, manganous oxide, preserved with mixed tocopherols (form of vitamin E), copper sulfate, citric acid, ascorbic acid, rosemary extract, lecithin, zinc sulfate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, copper chloride, sodium selenite.
Feed Mazuri® Mini Pig Youth on a free-choice basis as creep feed from 7 days post-weaning until 8 weeks of age or older. Continue feeding free-choice if rapid growth is desired.
To regulate growth rate, after 8 weeks of age feed at a rate of 1.5 - 3.0% of current body weight. Do not underfeed. Measuring food by weight is recommended; see Feeding Rate table on the product sheet using the Complete Nutrition Information link above.
The level of feed intake depends on many factors some of which include: environmental temperature, other foods available, level of activity and social hierarchy.
Change to Mazuri® Active Adult diet as desired to regulate growth rate at 16 weeks of age or older.
For gestating or lactating females, feed a mixture of 50% Mazuri® Mini Pig Active Adult and 50% Mazuri® Mini Pig Youth for increased energy.
For higher energy needs, as in the case of large litter size or multiple breedings, increase Mazuri® Mini Pig Youth to 60% of daily intake.
When using a self-feeder, make sure it is adjusted for minimize feed wastage.
Always provide animal with plenty of fresh, clean water.
Feeding rates available on the Product sheet.
For best results, store contents of open bag in container with sealing lids. Store in a cool (75°F or colder), dry (approximately 50% RH) location. Use within 1 year of bag manufacturing.