Free access to fresh cow manure permits pigs to avoid deficiencies in B-complex vitamins which may result if only the usual 5% or less ground alfalfa hay is fed in the ration.
In feeding cattle manure to pigs, it must be borne in mind that only manure from cattle fed high concentrate rations will be suitable, while manure derived from higher roughage rations would contribute very little or could even produce negative results.
Ensiling is also practical. Molasses improves palatability and reduces the fibre content in the overall ration.
Pastures for cows and pigs
Pig production on pasture support the organic principles of natural living and comply well with consumer expectations but pasture access is limited in pig production in Uganda even within the organic production.
Combining indoor housing and pasture systems might be a way forward supporting animal welfare and reducing the well-recognized high risk of ammonia emissions from concrete outdoor runs Cow manure is composed of undigested parts of plants, and bacteria.
And, as mentioned earlier, manure contains all the essential amino acids. They may therefore be a valuable “concentrate feed” for pigs.
In addition, if cows are fed grains, part of the grain passes through cows not fully digested. Under normal conditions, this type of product would be wasted.
The benefits of cow manure in pig nutrition
· The use of cow dung as an energy source for pigs.
· High protein content and essential amino acids.
· Cow manure provides pigs with micronutrients and vitamins, especially from the vitamin B group (including B12).
What percentage of a cow’s manure could a pig’s diet comprise?
The FAO (UN agency dealing with food and agriculture) published data on the experiment conducted in Mauritius in 1976 in which pigs were fed 40% cow manure, 40% molasses and 20% commercial compound feed. Depending on several factors, one cow can provide food in the form of manure for 3, and up to 17 pigs.
It’s determined by: (a) cow’s age and diet; (b) what part of pig’s diet is to be manure and; (c) age of pigs
How to integrate the possibility that pigs can be fed cow manure into Permaculture design?
If we want to raise pigs and cows the permaculture (an approach to land management and settlement design that adopts arrangements observed in flourishing natural ecosystems) way you could follow these suggestions.
(a) On the first day the pasture is grazed by cows.
(b) On the second day they move to a new pasture cell, and pigs move into where the cows were yesterday. They will eat cows’ manure, roots and part of the pasture sward.
(c) The third day the pigs are moved to where the cows were at day two and chickens are moved to where yesterday’s pigs were — they will eat a large part of the parasites found in pig feces.
In addition, they will scratch the manure, spreading it and accelerating its incorporation into the soil, along with all its nutrients.
Compiled By Dr Jolly Kabirizi