Adding extra B vitamins to the pig’s diet, on top of the requirements, has a positive effect on growth, carcass characteristics and feed intake.
Researchers from the University of Kentucky in the US concluded this after conducting 3 experiments involving a total of 405 crossbred pigs.
A common vitamin premix (VP) that provided adequate amounts of vitamins (4 fat-soluble and 7 B vitamins), was added at varied levels in the first 2 experiments and for different age groups. In the first experiments, weanling pigs with an initial body weight (BW) of 7.5 ± 0.2 kg were used. The results demonstrated that average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) linearly increased (P < 0.005) with increasing VP levels during day 14–21, day 21–28, and the overall 28 day period.
No effect on growth or carcass characteristics
Experiment 2 looked at growing pigs with an initial BW of 49.4 ± 1.0 kg. The results showed that the increasing VP levels did not affect growth performance or carcass characteristics of grower to finisher pigs.
Increasing dietary supplementation
The third experiment was designed to evaluate the effects of increasing dietary supplementation of 5 B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, folacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B12) on growth performance and carcass characteristics of nursery-finisher pigs. A total of 180 weanling pigs were provided a common diet without supplementation of the test B vitamins until they reached an average BW of 10 kg. Then, 155 pigs were selected for allotment.
The experimental diets were fed in 3 phases corresponding to 10–20 kg, 20–50 kg, and 50–105 kg of BW, respectively; the 5 B vitamins were provided to be equivalent to 70%, 170%, 270%, 470%, and 870% of the NRC (1988) requirement estimates on a bioavailable basis for each BW phase.
Improved ADG and ADFI of nursery pigs
The results demonstrated that overall ADG and gain to feed ratio (G:F) increased quadratically (P < 0.05), while overall ADFI tended to increase linearly (P = 0.10) as dietary B vitamins increased. The loin depth, loin eye area, and lean gain improved with increasing B vitamin levels (quadratic, P < 0.05). The researchers therefore conclude that increasing supplementation of VP beyond NRC (1988) requirement estimates improved ADG and ADFI of nursery pigs while supplementing a subset of 5 B vitamins improved growth performance and carcass characteristics of grower to finisher pigs.
Source: Livestock Science