Growth response and cost benefits of growing pigs to different herbal-mix feed additives and weight asymmetry
This study was carried out to investigate growth performance and cost benefits of growing pigs on different herbal-mix feed additives and weight asymmetry. Fifty-four, 8 weeks old Large White breed of pigs with an average body weight of 15.33±0.2 kg were randomly assigned to nine treatments with each treatment consisting of three replicates of two pigs each. Three diets containing different herbal-mix (Control diet without herbal-mix, moringa-basil meal diet, neem-basil meal diet) were formulated and fed to the pigs for sixteen weeks duration of the study. The moringa-basil and neem-basil leaf meals mixtures were in the ratio of 10 to 2; that is ten percent (10%) moringa or neem to two percent (2%) basil. Parameters determined include growth indices and cost benefits. Data collected were subjected to two-way analysis of variance using SAS (2000). Pigs on control diet had the highest final weight (49. 44, 43.22, 40.67 kg) and daily weight gain (515.87, 401.59, 388.89 g/pig) and the best feed conversion ratio (3.56, 4.59, 4.23) when compared to the values documented for pigs on ration containing different herbal-mix feed additives. The least total feed cost and revenue per pig were noted for pigs on neem-basil dietary treatment while the highest values were documented for pigs on control ration. Homogenous light weight pigs had higher feed intake and total feed cost per pigs when compared to other values noted for pigs on other treatment groups. Heterogeneous weight pigs recorded better feed conversion ratio, lower feed cost per kilogram weight gain and higher gross margin values when compared to the values noted for their homogenous counterparts. It can be concluded from this study that performance indices of growing pigs were affected by the dietary inclusion of herbal-mix feed additives and weight asymmetry. Hence, herbal-mix leaf meals can be integrated into growers ration in order to lower production cost, likewise, unevenly weight growing pigs can be managed together in order to obtain higher production efficiency in terms of feed intake and cost of production.