Effect of reduced feeding allowances on the nitrogen retention and growth of indigenous pigs
Musamba, Shingai Liberty
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The effect of reduced feeding allowances for pigs was investigated in two trials. Trial 1 was aimed at evaluating the effect of graded levels of energy on the nitrogen balance and growth performance of Mukota pigs. Graded levels of energy 0.11; 0.23; 0.34 and 0.45 MJ ME/kgW0.75/day were used in the trial with the herbaceous weed wandering Jew (Commelina benghalensis) fed ad lib with the lowest energy diet. A digestibility and nitrogen balance trial was carried out in a 4 x 4 Latin square arrangement. Four growing Mukota pigs with an average weight of 10 kg were fed each diet for seven days for adaptation. Weight, urine and faecal samples were collected for 7 days after the adaptation period. Results showed that pig and dietary treatment had an effect on pig weight gain (P<0.05) but week had no effect (P>0.05). Week and pig had no effect on dry matter digestibility, nitrogen and feed intake (P>0.05) while dietary treatment had an effect (P<0.05). In relation to nitrogen retained as a percentage of nitrogen digested only the treatment had no effect showing that all diets including the one with Commelina benghalensis and a low level of energy (0.11MJ ME/kgW0.75) can be fed without affecting the performance of growing Mukota pigs. None of the variables, however, had an effect on the feed conversion ratio. In the second trial the objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of supplementation of growing Mukota pigs with a commercial growers’ diet on farm. Ten farmers supplemented their animals with a commercial growers’ diet at 300 g per pig per day while a further three acted as controls. All groups of animals were allowed to forage freely for the duration of the trial. The ii supplemented animals showed improved rate of weight gains than the control. There was a decline in the rate of gain in the rainy season due to the penning of the animals leading to a decline in the supply of feed. The study showed that reducing the feed energy content of growing indigenous pigs has no effect on their growth performance and supplementation of growing pigs in rural production systems is feasible and leads to improvement of the performance of the animals. Key words: Mukota, pigs, feeding, allowances, growth, supplementation, performance.