The Cost Of Feeds In Swine Production Biology Essay

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The cost of feeds in swine production accounts for about 80 of the total production costs. The price of swine feeds in Uganda is escalating hence reducing the profits that a farmer would make. There is a need for other alternative feeds which are cheaply and locally available. Such feeds should be able to improve on the weight gain as a fundamental biological function. This however depends on the feed conversion rate (FCR). The FCR depends on a number of farm factors such as feeding system, the pig housing, genetic factors, environmental conditions and disease control. The farmers who feed their animals on only maize bran which has a high percentage of energy and a small percentage of the proteins for growth will have the FCR of their pigs increased, less weight gain and more feed used, and therefore more money spent on feeds and hence an economic loss.

Plants such as water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) which is a free floating water plant and has a high growth rate is found on most water bodies worldwide and on Lake Victoria in Uganda, has a nutritive value similar to that of high quality forage (Easley and Shirley, 1974; Singh et Singh, 1982; Dung, 1996). In some countries of Asia such as china, Vietnam, the young light green leaves which are rich in crude proteins (18% on a DM basis) has been fed to pigs in Mekong Delta in Vietnam (Le Thi Men 2006). The leaves are chopped into small pieces and mixed with rice bran and sometimes slowly boiled for a few hours (Gohl, 1994).

The aim of this research is to determine the weight gain of growing pigs fed on a basal diet of maize bran when they are supplemented with water hyacinth.

1.1 Background

Uganda currently has one of the highest population growth in the world and there is need to feed this escalating population and one of the ways that came to my mind was the increased production of highly prolific food animals swine in particular to provide highly nutritious food at the lowest production costs possible from the cheaply available resources despite the fact that animal feed costs of ingredients are increasing and therefore a need for free alternatives like the water hyacinth with a high growth rate.

Whenever I visited the Lake shores, I could see a highly multiplying free floating weed called the water hyancinth which the government is struggling to get rid of, and I thought of it being put to use as an animal feed yet at the same time controlling it. This weed which is currently seen as problem in Uganda can be turned into a source of food for pigs hence income generation, poverty alleviation and a source of employment.

1.2 problem statement

There is a reduced weight gain in growing pigs which are usually fed on a basal diet of maize bran due to the increased cost in the protein ingredients used in the formulation of feeds for swine in Wairaka village, Kakira town council, Jinja District.

1.3 justification

The research will encourage farmers of Wairaka Village, Kakira town council on how to utilize locally available feeds of Eichhornia crassipes on the shores of Lake Victoria which is available throughout the year, as an alternative protein supplementary feed.

This will be done by carefully selecting cross bred pigs with a fast growth rate and a high feed conversion rate. The research will recommend the best form, in which the water hyacinth can be fed, the ratios under which maize bran will be mixed with water hyacinth in a way that is cost effective in reducing the current high feed costs of swine production in Wairaka village, Kakira town council.

1.4 Objectives

Overall objective:

To increase on the weight gain of cross bred growing pigs fed on maize bran as a basal diet by 50% of their weights, by supplementing them with Eichhornia crassipes in Wairaka village, Kakira town council by 30th march 2013.

Specific objectives:

Conduct sensitization meetings amongst the swine farmers leaving in wairaka village and encourage them on how to utilize locally available feeds ( Eichhornia crassipes) to increase weight gain in pigs in 6 weeks.

Carry out on farm demonstration on how to utilize Eichhornia crassipes for swine production as a freely available local feed by 30th march 2013.

Print brochures about the advantages and utilization of cheap locally available protein resources will be carried out and distributed among the swine farmers by 30thmarch 2013.

Research question/hypothesis

The feeding of water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) to growing pigs fed on a basal diet of maize bran will have an effect on the weight gain of cross bred growing pigs.

Key words: water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes), feeding, weight gain of growing pigs, maize bran.



Pig farming is a very vital activity among the local communities in Uganda who majorly use it as an animal protein, source of income, manure and dowry and the biggest percentage of farmers do the farming on a small scale. There is a shortage in cereal by products hence an increase in production costs

2.1 Weight gain.

2.1.1 Weight gain of cross bred growing pigs

Weight gain in the pork industry is an important biological function, in the swine industry. Environment, feeding systems, disease condition, worm infestation, will affect the feed conversion rate and the physiology of digestion of a feed. A 10% average daily weight gain reduction increases production costs by about 2.3 times per pig

Growing pigs are given clean cool water and fed adlib and they do feed on their own. The daily feed intake increases every day as the pigs grow and nutrient requirements in terms of energy and proteins increases as the pig grows in order to meet the performance requirements. A pig will eat more feed when a fibrous feed is added to an energy density feed and will consume less if fats or oils are added. Pigs in a cold environment will eat more feed compared to those in a warm environment and those that are comfortable will eat less feed, the health and the gender for pigs above 23kgs. Gilts will eat less than barrows

As the pig grows beyond 68kgs the daily weight gain decreases, compared to young pigs that grow faster, average weight gain is dependent on daily feed intake, genetics also plays a role in feed intake because some breeds consume more feed than others and hence grow faster. As the pig grows it requires more feed in relation to maintenance requirements than a young pig until when it reaches about 68kgs. Leaner pigs are good at converting feed into weight than fatty pigs.

2.1.2 Aggression in pigs

To reduce aggression amongst the pigs, they are put in different pens, in groups of similar weights, avoid mixing pigs that are not used to each other as they will fight and this will affect them physiologically and also cause physical injuries. Aggression usually is as a result of competition for food and space. Spacing of paddock and house should be 40 feet from weaner to finisher.

Weaning as a practice in itself causes stress and this affects pigs socially and physiologically and can affect growth and even lead to death but good management can reduce this effect.

2.1.3 Behavior of pigs

Pigs a social animals and in most cases prefer to live in small groups and they do not dung or urinate in areas where they rest, they usually make noise at the time of feeding. It's often good to provide them with a wallowing pool shade is important especially for white pigs to avoid sunburn

2.2 Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)

2.2.1 Origin and distribution

Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) originated from South America, and it is a free-floating fresh water plant. It belongs to the family pontederiaceae, which contains eight other genera. E. natans is native to Africa. Water hyacinth consists of a fibrous root system, spongy stem and deep green leaves. The plant multiplies rapidly and causes detrimental effects.

It was introduced to Africa around the 1890 in Egypt, but its spread in the river failed, it was later on re introduced in 1942 and it spread rapidly in river Congo within two weeks and then shortly thereafter crossed to the upper Nile. Biological, chemical and mechanical means have been utilized to eradicate it in East Africa. It has invaded Lakes, rivers,and water dams in livestock ranches of South-Western Uganda and it has affected the livelihood of people surrounding these water bodies. The Owen Falls dam which is Uganda's hydro power station, located on river Nile is protected from water hyacinth by mechanical harvesting

2.2.2 Control in east africa

In Lake Victoria the menace caused by water hyacinth has prompted East African governments' action to control the spread of the plant by biological methods (Wulf and Andjelic 2000). The measures to control this plant could be more detrimental if not carefully applied e.g. the introduction of the Cactus Moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) can easily get out of hand.

 2.2.3 Utilization of water hyacinth

In China, India, and Vietnam, water hyacinth in Lakes and rivers is utilized as a resource with a wide range of application. Some of these applications include source of biogas, animal feed especially pigs and bio fertilizers. In Egypt water hyacinth is incorporated in ruminants diets.

The regions surrounding Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania are home for the largest concentration of domestic ruminants. People living on the lakeshores and in some of its Islands survive on fishing and subsistence mixed farming. Communities such as those on Ukerewe Islands and the western shores of the lake Bukoba practice Zero grazing and intensive cultivation. Feed shortages for livestock is usually experienced throughout the year.

Water hyacinth has not attracted the attention of farmers as a feed for livestock. Currently, there is no local use for this plant apart from few farmers raising pigs who include the fresh shoots in the diet (Kivaisi and Mtilla 1995). This is probably due to the lack of information on this plant and the fact that it was non-existent in Lake Victoria until recently.

However water hyacinth can be put to several uses such as organic fertilizer to soil, biogas generation, water treatment and as a livestock feed given its being rich in nutrients such as crude protein, phosphorous and potassium. It offers a bigger potential when it is fed in mixture with other rations or when it is ensiled before feeding. Water hyacinth as a weed is under utilized in Uganda and attempts to utilize should be encouraged in the direction of animal production.

2.2.4 Nutritional evaluation of water hyacinth


Water hyacinth (Echhornia crassipes) is considered to be a common weed because of its capacity to grow and reproduce on nutrient rich water bodies in Southeast Asia. The young light green leaves are rich in crude proteins (18% on a DM basis) and it has been fed to pigs in Mekong Delta in Vietnam (Le Thi Men 2006). In the tropical countries of Southeast Asia, The biomass of aquatic plants are in current use as a supplement for pigs among the farmers in the southeast Asia region.

2.2.5 Antinutritional factors

As an animal feed, it is mostly used as a fresh feed. Experiments that have been conducted in Southwest Colombia, 20% of commercial feed was substituted with fresh water hyacinth and there was no toxicological problems or effects on growth rate.

The levels of antiphysiological factors present in the plant are either very low or non-existent and therefore the use of water hyacinth as a feed is feasible. Tannins present in it is about 1 percent of dry matter of the whole plant and about 2 percent in the leaves. There are no trypsin inhibitors in the plant as a whole. There are no saponins and alkaloids, and the level of oxalates is about 0.8 percent. (Lareo, unpublished data, 1981).

2.2.6 Nutrient content of water hyacinth

The water content of water hyacinth is over 90 percent. The dry matter is about 10 percent and the crude protein is about 26 percent of the whole plant, but the leaves contain higher levels of about 38 percent. The mineral content depends on where the plant grows but it ranges between 17 and 26 percent. The fibre level is about 20 percent. Nitrogen 3.8%, phosphorus 1.1%, potassium 5% (John, 1984).

2.3 Feed

There is a challenge of poor nutrition of livestock in the tropics, usually animals are feed on crop by-products and low nutrient residues and grass is not readily available and it is usually of low nutrient value (bamikole and babayemi 2004). The pig is omnivorous, i.e. it can eat all types of food except that it cannot digest too much fiber and therefore cannot live entirely on roughage.

The development of technologies to utilize acquatic plants for livestock feeding is one of the ways in which problems of shortage of feed and nutrition can be solved. In Uganda water hyacinth is abundant on the water bodies in rivers and lakes, it is readily available to the surrounding communities throughout the year, due to its high reproduction rate, it causes problems of navigation, oxygen depletion, and irrigation ditches. Therefore its utilization as an animal feed may act as a means of controlling it and consequently reduce the costs associated with its removal.

2.3.1 Cost of feeds

The cost of feed in swine farming accounts for about 80% of the total production cost, pigs are omnivorous animal and the nutrient requirement of confined pigs have to be met by the feed provided to them. The major common practice is to feed pigs entirely on cereals which is a low diet feed and yet these animals need a balanced diet which can be got from a certified local feed manufacturer at a high cost. This will help them to have a better performance and a better growth rate. To overcome these constraints, alternative sources of feeds especially proteins have to be considered. A good protein supplement and grass can be used to raise feeders or growers cost effectively

2.3.2 Feed conversion rate

The major target in pig farming is to have animals that can weigh up to 100kgs at five months and a suitable feed should give a feed conversion rate of 2.5:1 that is 2.5kg of feed should give 1 kg live weight from weaning to slaughter with water given adlib. As they grow older, there is less need for proteins.

Sufficient feeders are provided so that every animal has access to feed and this helps to avoid bullying during feeding and animals are grouped according to their sizes, feed is provided adlib. Minerals and salts should be provided.

The type of feed and the method of feeding greatly influence the feed efficiency, growth rate, breeding efficiency, carcass quality and the general health of pigs (A O Fanimo et al., 2003).

The age, at which pigs are weaned influences the rate at which they gain weight, older pigs will gain faster than the young ones at the same weight according to a study conducted at moorepark.

The scarcity of animal and the increasing costs of feeds coupled with a rapid population growth rate calls for a research on non expensive and if possible free protein sources such as from leaves of water hyacinth. This when used in combination with other feeds is a good protein source for animals such as pigs.

2.4 Feeding of Swine / pigs

Pigs are omnivorous and can readily consume watery food, they can tolerate crowded conditions, and they produce meat of high value which is on a high demand. The pigs are highly prolific and they can easily match the rapidly multiplying population of the aquatic weed.

In Uganda, there is a high demand for pork majorly in all big cities, little attention seems to have been paid to pig farming in this country, while in China the swine industry is growing at a high rate and therefore Water hyacinth in China presents no serious problem because it is kept in check by feeding it to pigs.

Water hyacinth in East Asia is used as a supplement for pigs in small holder farms. It's mainly fed as fresh or ensiled. However, it can also be fed to pigs when cooked with other ingredients to make a complete pig diet. It is rich in proteins and amino acid content is well balanced (Luu Huu Manh et al., 2002).

Cooking chopped and mixed water hyacinth (With; Maize bran, Fish meal), in a formula of 40kg of water hyacinth, 15kg of maize bran and 2.5kg of Fish meal slowly for a few hours and left to turn into a paste improves its palatability, young leaves are more palatable because they are less fibrous than the older leaves. It is recommended to feed the plant to finishing or local pigs because they can better utilize fibrous feeds

Pigs can consume 1-2kg of fresh weight of water hyacinth daily.

In Southeast Asia, water hyacinth is used as a feed for pigs, after removing the roots, the plants are chopped and sometimes mixed with the other vegetable such as banana stem or rice bran and boiled slowly for 5-6hours (Gohl, 1994) and the boiled material is fed as a slop. This mixture is only tasty for three days and it will there after turn sour. Cooking brings out the appetizing flavor from the ingredients and makes them more digestible for the pigs. It also removes the bitter and raw taste in the water hyacinth. Frequency of cooking depends on the amount consumed by the pigs.

Of the mixture the hyacinth forms 60-65% of the bulk. The boiling is believed to increase the digestibility of the fibre content of the hyacinth. It is also believed that the hyacinth acts as a laxative and is especially beneficial to pregnant sows and any animals that are off feed.

Cooking feed or supplementing dry forage meal from such a plant high in water content like water hyacinth is not practical for big pig producers. Water hyacinth could reduce feed cost and can replace concentrate up to 6%.

The tender parts of water hyacinth are suitable as fodder for pigs. Pigs readily eat the hyacinth and thrive on it. Some farmers have machines for slicing the plants into small pieces. The high vitamin content (A, B and C) and easy availability of the plant are important advantages. But the high moisture content and the possibility of the material being contaminated with pathogens seem to deter the extensive practice of fresh plant feeding.

Silage is also fed to the pigs. It is made by chopping the hyacinth and wilting it in the sun for 2 to 3 days; it is then mixed with ground maize and molasses and stored for 1 1/2 to 2 months in pits about 1 m wide and 2 m deep. The silage is used as 15-25% of the total feed. Farmers believe that pigs fed on this silage sleep longer, eat more, and show greater increase in weight (Choy and Deveraj,1958) who conducted a feed trial with pigs using rations containing water hyacinth. Each pig received daily a slop containing 1.54 kg of boiled water hyacinth and 2.4 kg of concentrate. The controls received dry mash adlib. The pigs on hyacinth gained 1.54 kg/week while those on the mash gained 2 kg/week. Crossbred pigs fed on a slop feed containing water hyacinth showed a live weight gain of 0.48 kg/day at a feed conversion ratio of 3.38 (Fischer and Devendra,1963)

2.5 Basal diet of maize bran

This is the meal derived from the outer covering of cereal grains and it's a major source of dietary fiber. It is mechanically removed from flour by shifting, and it is extensively used for feeding farm animals. It is relatively cheap and a good source of energy, its majorly composed of broken maize grain, germ and testa. It has a very high energy value and an appreciable level of crude protein (Attoh-Kotoku et. Al.). It has a crude protein of 10% if fed alone and this cannot meet the nutritional requirement for proteins of pigs. Good maize bran should have fairly large particles, without flakes and should be dry with some flour.



Location and climate;

The experiment will be conducted on a farmer's piggery farm, to avoid loss of weight during transportation due to stress, in wairaka village, Jinja District, during the dry season, from January 2013, to march, 2013 for six weeks. Environmental temperature will be taken on a daily basis during the experiment at 6.00 AM, 12.00 AM and 6.00 PM, using a thermometer. The chemical analysis of the maize bran, water hyacinth (eichhornia crassipes), and excreta will be done at the animal feed laboratory in Kampala. Any other health activity done will be recorded.

3.1 Sampling design

Animals and experimental design

After- only with control design;

Twelve growing cross bred pigs weighing between 12-15 kg of live weight will be used for determining the weight gain, this will be a quantitative research and animals will be assigned with treatments in a completely randomized design. Six pigs will be assigned similar feed treatments and the remaining six will act as control. Two diets that is diet X and Y will be applied to the six replicates.

3.2 Observational design

Sample analysis:

A sample of the animal feed that is maize bran and fresh water hyacinth will be collected and taken for analysis in a laboratory for the nutrient content that is crude protein (CP), crude fibre (CF), crude fat (CF), moisture, Ash, N-free extract following the standard procedures.

The animals' body condition score will be observed and rated as; Emaciated, Thin, good, very good and excellent. The consistency of feeds given, disease occurrence if any, and the color of water hyacinth.

Examination of the animal, the piggery unit for any physical sharp points that may cause injuries, parasites. How active the pigs are during feeding for palatability of the feed given.

Photos of the animals used and the feeds will be taken.

3.3 Operational design (data collection detail).

3.3.1Management of animals

The animals will be provided with a suitable shelter so that the animals can be cool on hot days and warm on cold days. The pens will be disinfected and routine maintenance will be carried out.

Every two animals of approximately similar weight will be confined separately in well ventilated six pens with a concrete floor and dewormed two days before the start of the experiment with an antihelminthic ivermectin to eliminate the internal and external parasites since ivermectin is a broad spectrum antihelminthic.

3.3.1 Feeding and experimental procedure.

Maize bran will be purchased the nearby maize mills in Wairaka village. Fresh water hyacinth leaves will be harvested every after two days from Lake Victoria in Wairaka.

The water hyacinth leaves will be separated from the stems, dead leaves will be removed. The fresh leaves will then be chopped into small pieces, boiled and left to cool before mixing it in proportions with maize bran of 1:1. The pigs will be given adlib feeds and water. The feed taken and feed rejected will be measured to determine feed intake.

3.3.2 Data collection and analysis

Measurement of weight gain

Pigs will be weighed at the beginning of the experiment and on a weekly basis for six weeks of the experiment and the mean of the weights taken at the end of the experiment. Feeds offered and consumed will be recorded daily at 6.00pm to estimate feed intake

3.4 Statistical design/analysis design

Statistical analysis

Weight gain will be measured in grams using a weighing scale and this will be done on a weekly basis for purposes of avoiding stress to the pigs during handling and weighing which stress may affect weight gain. This will be done for 6 weeks

Analysis of data will be done by one way analysis of variance (one way ANOVA) also known as F- Test.

3.5 Data presentation (hypothesis)

Testing the hypothesis;

Ho: There is no difference in weight gain of pigs fed on water hyacinth as a supplementary feed to a basal diet of maize bran.

H1: There is a difference in weight gain of pigs fed on water hyacinth as a supplementary feed to a basal diet of maize bran.

The information will be presented on both a line chart and a column bar chart showing weight gain curves and columns for the live weight in grams against the days of the experiment.