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American Guinea Hogs &Articles &Beef Cattle &Sustainable Agriculture saboranch on 19 Mar 2015 09:05 am

The Importance of good minerals for weight gain

Just thinking as spring progresses about how to obtain the best gain on newly weaned Guinea Hog piglets and Devon calves.
Calves need a good high-sugar hay base to feed the bacteria in their rumen for good absorption of feed, and the bypass protein that plateful gut bacteria can provide.  They also need a superior mineral program to provide the raw molecular materials for enzyme creation!
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The pigs can be fed nearly anything, but they gain best when they have good, efficient, digestion!
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SO, how to help them to gain weight efficiently, and provide us with healthy, less expensive meat?
1. Improve their digestion so what goes into their mouths translates into weight gain BETTER!  Raw, organic apple cider vinegar provides the minerals from the deep rooted apple trees, and good potassium (the K in NPK that all life needs), and good probiotics that set up proper enzymes for digestions.  Cattle will eat it free choice, if it’s provided in a tub.  Pigs do well if the vinegar is mixed into one of their feedstuffs, or sprinkled on their hay.
2. Minerals.  If you don’t have a good source of really well mineralized feed, you might also consider a pig mineral.  Minerals are the base building blocks for the enzymes that are required for all metabolism.   Good metabolism = good digestion = weight gain!
Our neighbor found a gain of 50+ lbs per calf at weaning after he was diligent about filling all the mineral tubs on one side of a huge 100,000 acre ranch.  The other ranch manager was not as diligent about the mineral tubs- but had all the same genetics and forage as the first man- and the calves on “his” side of the ranch came in at a lighter weight at weaning.
50 lbs x $1.50/lb sale price x 900 calves = $67,500 extra $$ !!  No that’s a bank account addition we’d envy.
If you don’t have a good source of already mineralized milk or whey or eggs for your piglets, invest in a good hog mineral.  Calves will ALWAYS grow better with a good mineral program, and their dams will breed back quickly on the same thing, and their sires will have good, strong, viable sperm with that same good mineral program.
We have used the Helfter free choice mineral program and found 100% breed back in our herd, an excellent percentage of females (great for home-grown herd increase!), and healthy calves year after year.
Having trouble breeding back, or getting weight gain?  Look to your mineral program, either in the mineral tub, or straight onto your fields for bio-available minerals IN you forages and hays!

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