Various Aspects on the Feeding of Boars

A boar’s diet is essential to its good health. Health is a key part of guaranteeing the quality and quantity of semen produced. Various aspects come into play, such as feed composition, the quantity of feed given daily, and even the conditions under which the feed is stored. On top of this, given the high cost of feed, optimizing the daily portions received by the animals can have a significant impact on the farm’s profits.

Following on from our article “How do you organize feeding for boars to optimize semen collection?”, GenePro’s experts have been looking at the subject of diet more generally.

First of all, a reminder of a few of the basics : What are the objectives when feeding a boar?

  • Maintaining the animal’s growth, without however turning it into a slaughter pig. 
  • Maintaining an optimal level of fattening.
  • Maximum semen production
  • Animal longevity (legs and hooves)

Feed Composition

In the table below we have grouped together our advice on the main raw materials that make up your animals’ feed. Of course, these parameters may vary according to your location. But these figures should still give you the general idea:

Ideal ContentComments
Oats3-4%Boosts the libido
Wheat25% maximumProvides energy
Cereal co-products (bran, germ, chaff)12% maximum altogetherHigh risk of mycotoxins. Digestibility problem
Corn25% maximumProvides energy
Beet pulp3-4%Provides fiber. Sticky manure if >4%
Canola meal cake5% maximumProblem with digestibility and palatability + abrasive
Canola + Sunflower meal cake12% maximum altogetherProblem with digestibility and palatability + abrasive

Quantity of Feed to Distribute per Day

Usually, the quantity of feed distributed per boar per day is around 3 kg. Under temperate conditions, such as those experienced in France, the target is about 2.8 kg / day. That average target should be weighted according to:

CriterionComments / Adjustment
Age of boar50% of ration upon arrival at the center. Increased to 100% after 15 days there
Condition of boarAssess once a week. Adjust in 100 to 200 gram increments
AppetiteIf the trough is not clean after 30 minutes, reduce the quantity by 10%. And monitor the boar’s state of health closely. Increase again according to developments. (Note: some boars are simply slow eaters.)
Boar’s activityIf a boar is subject to regular collections, the ration may be increased slightly.
Temperature of the buildingIncrease by 100 g for every °C below 20 °C.

Frequency of meals

There are different schools of thought on this. Here is a method that works very well in France. But, of course, it is not the only option!

Generally speaking, we recommend a single meal a day, broken down into 2 successive distributions, with a 30 minute gap in between. Here are some of the advantages we have found:

  • More time to monitor distribution and check the boars are healthy
  • Satiety lasts longer
  • Breaking up distribution of the meal helps reduce the quantities reaching the stomach at any one time. Thus the risks of torsion are reduced.
  • Given that the recommended gap between 2 meals is a minimum of 6 hours, by giving a single meal broken down into 2 successive distributions you reduce the time during which staff needs to be present around the boar pen.

Feed Storage

Ideally, the feed, which is stored in silos, should not remain in the silo for more than a month. In fact, after that time the feed can lose palatability. But, equally, condensation may occur, triggering the development of molds, bacteria or even fungi.
So it is recommended to empty and wash out silos twice a year. After the silo has been washed out and dried, fumigation is essential.

A Few Feed Quality Control Checks to Apply :

  • Check for mycotoxins: some of these, such as zearalenone, can result in delayed onset of puberty, a lack of libido, and even lower semen production. Others, such as deoxynivalenol, can reduce the feed’s palatability, result in immunosuppression, or even lead to aggressive behavior.
  • Check the temperature of the granulate on delivery
  • Presence of dust or clumped grains
  • Check the feed’s density
  • Boars stop eating following a new delivery…
  • Etc.

 Diet is a key factor in guaranteeing the health of your animals. So it is essential you pay close attention to both the composition and the quality of the feed you distribute to your boars. Never underestimate the importance of this factor in the successful production of top quality semen. For more information, reach out to one of the Boars & Semen experts. 

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