*** FEED SWINE - MFA Hog Feeding and Management Suggestions

    MFA Hog Feeding and Management Suggestions

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   Management of the Breeding Herd

    Management of the Boar

The boar is the most important part in genetically improving the sow herd since most swine producers select their herd replacements from their own gilts. The following are some important factors in correctly managing the boar:

  1. Purchase boars from reputable breeders. Herd health is of primary consideration. Performance data is also important.

  2. Isolate, acclimate and test the boars before they enter the herd.

  3. A good guideline to follow is one adult boar to each 10 sows, or one young boar for each seven. Always have plenty of boar power to get the sows settled.

  4. Feed boars about 6 lbs. per day of a MFA sow diet to get them into condition.

    Selection and Management of Gilts

The primary concern in a gilt growing program should be to select females with a large frame, good underlines, soundness of feet and legs and from sows with a good reproductive history. Here are a few points to consider with herd replacement:

  1. Select gilts from the finishing floor at about 5.5 months or 180 to 200 lbs.

  2. Change the gilt finishing ration to a gilt-developer ration fortified with additional vitamins and minerals. It's important to feed gilts a ration with adequate calcium/phosphorus supplementation. Finishing rations would deprive the gilt of needed vitamins and minerals when fed at restricted levels.

  3. Gilts should cycle at least 2-3 times before breeding. Do this by running the boar next to developing gilts, by stress, or by moving them from one location to another. High lean gilts should have 0.9 to 1.0 inches back fat before breeding.

  4. Gilts should be 7-8 months of age and weigh 275 lbs. before breeding.

  5. Follow recommended vaccination schedule.

     Feeding and Management of Sows and Gilts

Healthy sows in good body condition will produce large litters of fast-growing pigs. Here are some helpful hints in successful care of the sow herd.

Important nutrient requirements for a high lean breeding female are:





Body wt. at breeding

275 lbs.

385 lbs.




Lysine g/d



Threonine g/d



Meth & Cystine g/d



Tryptophan g/d



Calcium g/d



Phosphorus g/d



ME, Kcal/d






Daily wt. gain of pigs

44 lb.

55 lb.




Lysine g/d



Threonine g/d



Meth & Cystine g/d



Tryptophan g/d



Calcium g/d



Phosphorus g/d



ME, Kcal/d



*Assumes 10 pigs per litter and 21-day lactation.

For additional recommendations, contact the MFA Swine Nutritionist.

    Before Breeding

  1. If sows are in poor body condition due to extended lactation, they should be flushed (increase feed intake).

  2. Gilts should be flushed two weeks before breeding so they are gaining condition. Feed at least 6-8 lbs. per head daily of an MFA Sow Ration.

  3. Give all suggested vaccinations before breeding.

    After Breeding

  1. Observe sows' general health and condition during daily feedings. Individual feeding stalls are helpful to ensure each sow gets proper feed. A guideline of 5 lbs. of feed per day for gilts and 4 lbs. for sows is suggested. Weather conditions, housing facilities and sow condition may dictate a need to increase or decrease feeding levels.

  2. Avoid overfeeding females. Overconditioning is detrimental to farrowing, lactation and rebreeding.

  3. Deworm sows before farrowing if needed.

  4. Increase level of feeding in the last 21-30 days of gestation to improve livability of pigs at farrowing.

  5. Follow a suggested vaccination schedule.

    Farrowing Management

Farrowing time is critical in getting pigs off to a fast, healthy start. There is no substitute for close attention during this time. Management actually begins about one week before the sow farrows. Good records with accurate breeding dates are essential in management during farrowing time.

The following are some feeding and management tips to follow:

  1. Clean and disinfect farrowing quarters prior to farrowing. Allow time for thorough drying.

  2. One week before farrowing, deworm the sow again to prevent parasites from stealing the nutrients needed for pig development and lactation.

  3. Move sows into the farrowing area at least five days prior to farrowing. Wash the sow and her udder to remove all mud and manure. Apply external parasite control if needed.

  4. Avoid constipation at farrowing. Add bulk to the sow ration only if needed and do so at least 3 days before and after farrowing.

  5. Be there when sows farrow. Provide supplemental heat since the baby pig cannot regulate its own body temperature for a few days. It is important for baby pigs to receive colostrum in the first few hours after birth.

  6. Feed the sow only 1 or 2 lbs. on the day she farrows. Increase feed gradually to full feed by the seventh day.

    Feeding and Managing the Baby Pig

The pig is very vulnerable to disease during the first four weeks of life. They get disease immunity from the sow's milk. The following are some tips to follow in getting pigs through their first few weeks alive and healthy.

First Day

  1. Provide supplemental heat. The baby pig cannot regulate its own temperature; therefore, keep the pig dry, warm and draft free.

  2. Clip and disinfect the umbilical cord with iodine.

  3. Provide a separate waterer for the baby pigs.

  4. Inject 1 cc of iron (200 mg).

  5. Equalize litter size if desired by moving extra pigs within 48 hours of farrowing.

  6. Boar pigs may be castrated at 1-3 days. There is less stress on the pig when castrated at an early age.

    Week One

Place baby pig creep feeders in crates. Put a small amount of MFA Muscle Pig I in the creep feeder 2-3 times each day to keep the feed fresh. Clean out the feeder daily.

    Week Three (Weaning)

  1. Feed Muscle Pig Early Wean to small, disadvantaged pigs.

  2. Feed Muscle Pig I for 1 week (4-5 lbs. per pig).

  3. Feed Muscle Pig II for 1 week (5-6 lbs. per pig).

  4. Feed Muscle Pig III for 2 weeks (12-16 lbs. per pig).

  5. Feed Muscle Pig IV for 2 weeks (20-25 lbs. per pig).

    Growing and Finishing Management

Feed is the largest expense of the growing and finishing phase of hog production and thus provides the greatest opportunity for a producer to reduce his production cost. However, do not cut quality of feed. This could result in longer days to market weight and more pounds of feed being fed. Poor quality feed can produce detrimental carcass effects.

  1. Through research and on farm experience, MFA has developed nutritionally sound feeding programs for growing and finishing hogs. Here are management tips to follow.

  2. Finishing hogs should be checked often for signs of disease.

  3. Make sure feeders and waterers are adjusted so there's no waste but pigs can still get adequate amounts of both.

  4. Select growing/finishing diets based upon what is optimum for your genetics.

  5. Assure housing is adequate for the pigs.    

    MFA has a full line of swine feed products: complete diets, supplements, base mixes and premixes.


Prestarters and starters

Muscle Pig Early Wean; Muscle Pig I, II, III, IV

Starter add-paks

Bridge Pak Early Edition and Bridge Pak

Grow/finish complete diets

PT 18, 16, 14, 12

Grow/finish supplements

MPS-45, PT 44, Pig Lift

Gold Star premixes

Pig Pass Premix, Gestating and Lactating Sow Premix

Gold Star base mixes

G/F 100 Base Mix, Sow 150 Base Mix

Sow feeds

Complete diets and supplements

For more information, contact Janice Spears at

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