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scary price increase of feed

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:07 pm
by Amanda R
I've just been to my local feed merchant for a sack of Allen & Page pot bellied pig feed after a sojourn on sow & weaner nuts. I'm still vibrating after paying ?9.75. A quick ring round other local suppliers suggests that this figure is about average after a recent price increase. Given that my beasties all root and destroy any and all grass put in their way, I have to feed them a proprietary blend as the main portion of their diet. Quite simply, I need to locate another way of feeding as this new, improved price will lead to the pigs ending up in the freezer.
Has anyone got any suggestions on how to get around this? I wonder if it would be possible to feed sow & weaner in smaller amounts while supplementing it with another form of cheaper food. (My castrated boar has turned into something of a zeppelin recently, possibly because of the change in diet, and, as breeding is a priority, I really don't want my girls getting too round.) Otherwise, does anyone know of a way of buying the feed in at a bulk rate, or of an alternative weight control blend that would be suitable? All suggetsions will be most welcome.


Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:18 pm
by Di
I have never fed Allen and Paige feed. My kunekunes have always had bog standard Mole Valley Farmers Sow and Weaner nuts. They are not overweight and indeed seem very healthy. I am afraid I feel that Allen and Paige pot bellied food is a bit of a fancy mixture developed for the pet market. I know it is lower in protein than the Mole Valley feed but as I said I have not had a problem with feeding this.

Don't overfeed! I am sure this is the problem sometimes that people feel they are not giving their pigs enough.

Give it a try and see how you get on. Your purse will feel happier!


which feed?

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:51 pm
by Fran
I wondered how many people use common or garden sow and weaner nuts? And have your kunes grown bigger than you expected Di?
I used Allan and Page religiously for my first two, they never looked fat but both grew much bigger than their parents, confusing as I had always understood that if not fed pot bellied feed they would grow bigger.
I switched to a very cheap feed and one of my sows developed cracked hooves which the vet said could be due to a lack of biotin in the cheap feed. I now feed a mixture of the A and P(?9 for a 20kg bag) and a better sow and weaner nuts (?7 for a 25 kg bag) a fair compromise I decided!
I am looking into the new Dodson and Horrell feed at the moment too.
Interestingly enough the supplier of the sow nuts has recently offered us a discount for paying as we collect and not on account which might be worth a try, and another supplier does offer better rates the more you buy, so you could try asking that too!

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 6:17 pm
by Amanda R
Thanks for those very quick responses! The D & H looks like it might be quite interesting although we did try a blend a while ago, name forgotten, that I think might have been along these lines. It almost resembled muesli with a good deal of flakes and different coloured pellets. The pigs didn't seem to mind it but the artificial look of the coloured pellets, along with a marked change in the colour and consistency of stool led to a swift return to A & P.
As regards amounts to feed, the A & P sack gives guidance for the ratio of weight of food: weight of pig. Weighing the food is easy........but I don't fancy escorting my little darlings to Boots for a go on the Speak Your Weight machine. I understand that Ascot sell a pig tape measure that translates girth to kg. Do we know if this will still apply to Kunes, and if so, does anyone know the formula so I can dodge spending ?8.95 plus p+p?
As ever, all help and guidance is greatly appreciated.


Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 9:29 pm
by Di
No, my pigs have not grown any larger than normal. As a recommendation one sow won a second and a gilt had Reserve Supreme Champion at the Three Counties Show last summer. What more can I say?

I take my feeding quantities from Andy Case's book Starting with Pigs. He gives a lot of information relevant to kunekunes. In fact it was Andy who told me to use bog standard sow and weaner nuts when I bought my first two piglets from him!

Good luck


Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:02 am
by Gary
You had a bargain !
Our local Feed Merchant is charging ?10.35 for A&P.
Like many I used to feed A&P and changed to a Sow & Weener by Farmgate, about 2 years ago. I Pay ?4.50 for a 20kg bag.
The important nutrient in the feed for these pigs is the protein as this determines to a large extent their weight balance. A&P suites them well as it is low around 12% protein.
Check the labels as the average Sow and Weener seems to be around the 18% mark, perhaps understandably as many pig owners are focused on weight gain.
The above Farmgate feed is 16 % which I feel is a nice compromise and the of course the price is great.
Again it is a lot to do with the quantity fed.
The Farmgate web page is


Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:38 pm
by debbie tanulak
I have always fed my two girls on sow and weaner nuts, the protein is 16% so i just keep an eye on their girth, if they appear to be getting a bit big i cut their feed down a bit. I also give them fruit and veg peelings and old bread. In the spring when the grazing is good i hardly feed them at all, just a few pig nuts once a day.
I know that a lower protein feed is recommended but i cannot find a supplier anywhere near me (Shropshire) so I just do the best I can.
I have to add that my husband works for a feed supplier but can only get me meal which is a bit of a mess - mixing it with water- but the pigs do love it and its only around ?4 for a 25kg bag. I guess i should find the time to mix the meal and save the money!!


Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:10 pm
by Di
Yes Debbie my feeding regime is similar to yours. The Mole Valley Farmer sow and weaner nuts ate also 16% and I also supplement this with any veg, bread, windfall apples, etc. I also almost completely cut out the nuts in the summer when there is plenty of grass UNLESS of course I have a sow pregnant or feeding piglets, then of course they get the nuts.

I don't seem to have a problem with weight.


Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:12 pm
by wendy scu
This is all very interesting -
i have investigated feed for the society over the last 8 months and have found a feed merchant who make low protein feed for a very reasonable price but i would have to buy it by the ton. i was happy to do this and distribute it to member who were interested but the cost of distribution made it pointless. it would have cost (you) about 6.50 a 20kg bag. gary seems to have the best deal, although i am lucky - i buy half ton bags of sow breeder nuts (16%) and it works out at just under 4.00 for 20kg. until the recent price rise it was 3.60 for 20kg but we do have to collect it on a trailer.
i do think that 16% is too high a protein for 'pet' animals who are not breeding but mine are all breeders or boars.

anyone got any ideas for distribution? i am still willing to try it

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:26 am
by wendy scu
To add to that,
there is a formula Amanda, but bear in mind that these formulas are calculated by men who rear their pigs for the table. if you want your pig to lead a long and healthy life then 'slim and fit' is better than 'well developed hams'!!

I do believe that feeding high protien to weaners results in a larger heavier pig - 'growers' and 'weaners' feeds are designed to rear and 'finish' a pig as quickly and cheaply as possible.
if you do want to rear your kunes for meat then rear them for quality - slow grown grass fed pork must be best and leaves the pig with a longer better quality life.
if you're going to shove high protein food down them and kill them at 8 months you may as well go and buy it in tescos

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:11 pm
by Fran
What do you wean your litters with then Wendy, do you change to A&P and feed it to Mum also or do you separate Mum and litter at feeding time and just give the piglets A&P?
Its all very confusing especially if Andy Case is saying to use normal sow nuts for all kunes and owners are saying their pigs are fine ( i.e neither fat nor huge) on the sow nuts and my first two were fed A&P and were never ever fat but grew much bigger than both their parents!??

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:41 pm
by wendy scu
I wean my piglets onto a small amount of the same as they were having with mum - sow breeder nuts 16% and make up the rest of their feed with beet pulp and flaked maize and barley to a quantity of about 250gms per piglet spread over 2 feeds a day. They are of course on grass and they also get all the pulp from our juicer.
All of my adult pigs are on breeders nuts as they are all breeding regularly and do need the extra protein. My boars are actually on 3lbs a day and still look pretty lightweight.
yes, it's difficult, as everyone has their own idea of 'fat' and 'large' and variations of it.
For my courses i have photos of 'fat' pigs and healthy pigs but still people bring me sows and declare on the phone that they are not overweight and when they arrive they have jowels down to their knees and tummies on the floor - almost like a walrus with a snout!

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:31 pm
by claire86
I read this discussion last week and just by coincidence, a couple of days later, had a lecture on enteric diseases of pigs, in which the lecturer spoke about the increased cost of feed. Apparently, it's not just affecting smallholdings, it's making an impact on the whole pig production industry in this country. The cost of producing a Kg of pig meat has risen from 80p to ?1.42 in the space of a year or two (I think she said!). Take out the general cost increase every year, and the rest is due to the increased feed costs. Quite shocking when you look at the figures and realise now, most pig farmers are losing money on every single pig they raise!

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:58 pm
by Marmite
Hi, I have been reading the above as I am also thinking of coming of A&P nuts. The cost keeps going up and up.

I will try D&H website and will also look at other sow nuts available. Its a shame no one like Countrywide could not have taken up distribution of the nuts Wendy and I looked into and if anyone has contacts in this area perhaps they could have a word.

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:53 pm
by Amanda R
Again, all very interesting and useful, but I think Wendy may have missed the point of my wondering about the tape measure. The idea was to correctly gauge the amount of food my pigs require IN ORDER to make sure that they are healthy and happy, not so that I can shovel protein down them as fast as possible. If I was of a mind to do that, rest assured that a) I would not be buying A & P, and more pertinently, b) I would not be involved with kunekunes in the first place. Rather, I would be buying in cheap growers.