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The Economics Of Creep Feeding In Pigs

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The survivability of each weaned piglet depends on its weight and ability to utilise solid food after weaning.

The sow milk may not be enough to enable each piglet to achieve minimum weaning weights (6.5 – 7kg) at 3 to 4 weeks. Therefore, the early introduction of creep feed to piglets is highly important.

A good creep feed is milk-based, mixed with human digestible foods, and medicated to prevent minor infections.

Creep feed is fed to piglets alongside sow milk. Before it was introduced in Uganda, it was difficult to determine the growth of pigs and the following key factors.

  • Early weaning impossible and therefore reduced number of farrowings per sow per year.
  • Underweight, orphaned, and piglets born by sows suffering from poor milk let down die or get malnourished.
  • Post weaning feed consumption was very low leading to reduced performance at both grower and finisher stage.
  • High post-weaning diarrhea cases resulting from a change of feed from liquid to solid diets increase mortality rates or poor performance.

All these threatened farm profitability.

  • The cost per kilogram of a high-quality creep feed is relatively high. However, consumption at this stage is very low. In fact, Creep feeding is the cheapest nutritional stage in pig farming yet extremely important. Therefore, shouldn’t be compromised by giving a less quality feed.
  • It is recommended for a piglet to consume at least 500g (0.5kg) between one week to 3-4 weeks when weaning is done. This is achieved by few producers.
  • To reduce diarrheal cases, sudden change of feed from creep diets to starter diets is not advisable. Therefore the farmer spends about sh4800  from the time creep feed is introduced to weaning and weaning to the successful transfer of from creep to concentrate-based starter diets.

Farmers take note

  • Introduce creep feed to piglets at 7 days of age.
  • On introduction, consumption will be low but piglets will have a chance to smell and play with the feed. Therefore, give smaller quantities and increase as consumption increases.
  • Where a farrowing house is absent, build a creep area in a sow pen. The creep feed trough must be out of sow reach.
  • Maintain high-level hygiene. Wash and dry creep feed troughs after use.
  • Give fresh creep feed every day. Mix leftovers with lactation meal.
  • Ensure use of correct creep feed troughs to avoid wastage of the feed.
  • Ensure access to fresh and clean water by the piglets.

Compiled by Christopher Mulindwa

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