Market Feeds are Designed for Market Show Animals
The first lesson in Feeding Basics is to understand is that market show animals required specialty designed feeds to support the growth rate needed for success. The feed requirements for other animals such as a breeding animal are different that a market show animal. So selecting the right feed is important to your success. The reason a quality show feed is required the additional supplements and nutrients needed included in the mix. The feed tag provides feeding instructions using weight ranges.
Market Feeds are designed to be fed in 3 phases
- This is the first feed given after weaning at the breeder. By the time you have purchased your market animal, they will have been introduced and fed the grower level feed. Sometimes with a light weight animal, you may be advised to feed one more bag of starter feed to get them on the right growth path.
- This is generally the first feed that you will feed your market project. This feed has protein & fat percentages that will help your project grow at the rapid rate needed.
- This is the final level of feed to put a finished edge on your project. This feed is lower in Protein & fat. It is designed to maintain the rate of weight gain.
Market Feed Phases
Market Show Feeds are fed by the animal’s weight. On the feed tag, you’ll see the recommended weight range. Here is an example of a recommended weight range for feeding a pig:
Swine Grower Feeds – 75 lbs. – 165 lbs.
Swine Finisher Feeds – 165 lbs. -270 lbs.
Feed Tag Instructions - Sample
Feed as a sole ration. Start on feed when pig is at 75 lbs. body weight From 75-175 lbs. body weight, feed about 4-6 lbs. per head, per day. Feed by weight – not by volume. Weigh the feed in the container you’ll be using and be sure to subtract the weight of the container.
How much can you expect your animal to eat at each weight?
Knowing how much to feed at each weight range will help you achieve your show weight. Using this basic math and the chart below will help!
WEIGHT RANGE + SPECIFIC FEED AMOUNT = AVERAGE DAILY GAIN
This chart is designed to show you how many pounds of feed your animal should be eating each day at each weight range. If you are practicing good feed management, weighing your animal often & your animal is healthy, you should see numbers that are close to the table below. If you are not achieving the rates below, go through the health checklist to ensure that your animal isn’t sick.
Select the Feed Tab for more information and feeding strategies.
Feed mills each design their own version of Grower & Finisher feeds. Each feed mill has varied ideas of what makes a good market feed. Their feed instructions will always provide the best way to optimize their feed. Feeding basics is only the beginning! Our livestock feed companies also have supplements and other top dresses to enhance the feed. Watch for future articles on Feed Supplements. Supplements can help a market animal complete their growth and finishing when fed as directed.
How many Bags of Feed will I need?
The number one questions that parents will ask is “how much feed needs to be purchased?” It would be advisable to pick up a few bags of grower feed. I would not suggest buying all of the feed at one time. Having feed sitting around can expose it to damage and loss. So plan 2 or 3 trips to to the feed store to ensure that your feed is fresh and is the right mix for your projects weight range. This also lets you change up your feed program if needed. The chart below is a good rule of thumb to use for Goats, Sheep and Swine.
Here is an example of a feed plan for a 70 lb. pig with a show weight goal of 270 lbs. This pig will need to consume 12 bags of feed to gain 200 lbs.!
______ 270 lbs. Show Weight
______ 70 lbs. Starting Weight
______ 200 lbs. of Total Weight Needed = 12 bags of Feed
Resources for Market Feeds & Feeding Strategies
Your Advisor or Club
- Your advisor may have experience with locally available feed for your market project. Sometimes it’s easier to feed what they have had success with. If your advisor doesn’t have any preference, check with the resource below. The more information you know…the better your experience!
Your Local Livestock Feed Store
- A great way to find what is available in your area is to stop by your local livestock feed store. Take time to look at the feed offered and read the nutritional tag. Not all feed brands are sold everywhere, so see what options are available. Note: you will not find a quality market feed at the grocery or convenience store. If they sell a livestock feed, it is likely a generic feed that will not have the right ingredients for your market project. Don’t go cheap on the feed. Buy quality.
- If you know who your livestock breeder will be, send them an email asking what they prefer as a feed brand. Breeders have experience in what feed recipes work best with their lines of livestock.
- We have feed information and resources to help guide you through the decision process. Our Expert Partners provide featured articles to help you make the best decision possible. Contact us for more information on feed dealers in your area. Quality feed program counts!
Always research the show feeds available in your local area. Here are a few resources to help you understand what feed may be a good choice. Don’t hesitate to contact any and all resources for their advice.