Minerals and salt in pig diets
Minerals are only a small part of pig diets but they are crucial to regulatory functions and keep pigs healthy.
Calcium is important for pig bones and teeth. It also supports functions such as blood clotting. Low calcium in the body can stunt pig growth and cause diseases such as rickets.
Meat and bone meal are a good source of calcium. Limestone can be used to supplement calcium and is usually the cheapest way to boost calcium intake in pigs.
Phosphorous is important to pig bones and muscle structure but it can be expensive. Make sure you have the right amount in your pig diets to save costs.
Phosphorus is normally given to pigs as monocalcium phosphate or dicalcium phosphate (dical). Both of these also contain calcium – the 2 minerals are closely linked.
In addition to calcium and phosphorous, your pigs need small amounts of other minerals, such as iron, zinc, copper and manganese. These minerals are usually added to pig diets as a mineral premix.
Salt is a source of sodium for pigs. It is very important to young pigs because they need sodium to grow. Grains are low in sodium but you only need 0.25% salt in young pig diets.
Older pigs need around 0.3–0.5% salt in their diet. You may want to add more salt than the recommended limit of 0.3% because it helps combat discharging sow syndrome and urinary tract infections. Salt makes sows thirsty so they drink more water, which helps them urinate.
- Last reviewed: 22 Nov 2022
- Last updated: 22 Nov 2022