Nutrients required by pigs and other farm animals

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These are the nutrients required by pigs and other farm animals:


Water is required to balance water losses, produce milk and form new tissue during growth or pregnancy. The minimum daily requirements depend on age:-

Age in weeks               Kg of water

16 – 18                         7

Non pregnant gilts       11.5

Sows                            up to 20

The practical recommendation is to allow free access of water.


This is usually provided by carbohydrates. The amount of energy provided or required is expressed in Kcal/kg or MJ/kg of feed. Energy required by pigs is usually described in terms of Digestible Energy (DE) because DE is precisely defined in pigs.

Protein and amino acids

Protein may not be required as such but is a necessary source of essential amino acids and nitrogen for the synthesis of non essential amino acids. Required amino acids include lysine, methionine, tryptophan, arginine and histidine.

Cereal grains can provide 30 – 70% of the total protein required hence other sources of protein like legumes must be provided to ensure adequate amounts of essential amino acids.

The required amounts of protein and amino acids are expressed as percent of diet.


The required minerals include calcium, phosphorous, iron, and copper. The required quantities are expressed as percent in diet or milligrams per kilogram for trace elements.


These are required in very small quantities. There are two types

Fat soluble vitamins for example vitamins A,D,E, and K

Water soluble vitamins e.g. the B complex, niacin, and pyridoxine


They enhance the absorption of fat soluble vitamins and are required for certain essential fatty acids.  Requirements are expressed as percent of diet.

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