The value of feeding swine supplements in today’s competitive swine show arenas:
I will be the first to admit that I am as “old school” as any in today’s times of feeding show pigs. It’s obvious that we all are set in our ways of a certain age and strong in our beliefs as we should be. But in today’s competitive show pig ring the times will simply pass you by if you’re not on top of your game. The old days of putting a young pig on a full feeder, and watching him get better and better every day hardly ever happens anymore. You used to be able to maximize a young pig, and a full feeder, take the pig to a few shows and win at the highest level… It’s safe to say you don’t see that anymore. I have had good friends my age tell me that good ole feed and water is the only additive or supplements pigs will ever need. More times than not they get to the state level show and their heads are spinning, trying to figure out how some pigs look the way they do and others just get lost in the sea of pigs.
What I have learned all these years is that yes, a good balanced ration is a must and the basis of every show project, but you can maximize a pig strengths with the right feed supplements. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some things you can’t enhance on a pig, such as soundness and skeletal quality. Both are two aspects that a pig must have and if they don’t, no additive will help. Rib shape and bone structure will not change with an additive, I promise. Skull shape and foot size will not increase with a supplement either. But, believe it or not supplements are very valuable in today’s competitive swine show arenas.
Keeping a pig fresh is a challenge over a long period of time. Pigs only have one twelve o’clock and for those of you who know me know how I preach and hope that one time twelve o’ clock happens at the final show. Supplements allow you to guide that pig to its perfect peak, especially in terms of freshness and bloom. A lot of times a pig just simply needs to be freshened up prior to the goal show you are seeking. You can also increase a pigs external fat appearance if you need one fleshened up, again all this has to do with bloom and fresh show appeal. It just makes your pig stand out above the rest, and when a judge is splitting hairs on a pen full on good ones, it just makes the difference.
Often times you are targeting a pig for an ideal weight or a pig has gotten away from you in terms of pounds and you need him to stand still, regardless of the case supplements can be your best friend in times like these. Many times champion showpigs need all the extra bells and whistles, and needs shaped up in its top side appearance. Also, at the show, pigs tend to shrink with water loss and hauling so you must rehydrate that animal with an electrolyte, that’s the perfect time to rain down on your competitors and go for the purple.
Lastly and probably the most important thing is the health of your pig, and everything starts with the gut. To keep the gut healthy you must attack the bad bacteria’s in the intestinal wall and put back the good bugs back in. It’s easy really, just open your holster and draw your show gun and watch your project grow and never miss a beat. Another good value to remember is “a scoop a day keeps the vet away” is what I always like to say and you’re on your way!
By: Bobby Listen