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Discussion Starter #1
We weighed our 4-H pigs yesterday and they are about 20 pounds lighter than we would like them to be at this time. Our county fair is in six weeks. Any suggestions on what these guys can eat that will put them at the minimum of 230 by fair time? We have a barrow and a gilt. They are eating good, but this feed we have been getting at the elevator just isn't putting the pounds on them like I would like. It looks like they are giving us mostly ground corn with a base mix.
 

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agmantoo
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Get some cooking oil from a restaurant and make a slop using your ground corn/meal and the cooking oil. It will put the weight on real fast so do not get them too fat.
 

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The more ofter you feed, the more they will eat. Her first year, my daughter was feeding every 3 hours for the last 2 weeks, but he gained I think it was 45 lbs. in those 2 weeks. This year, we have dairy goats as well as the 4H pigs. We add the goat milk to the pigs feed. They devour it fast with the milk. Even just adding water makes them eat more. Eggs help to. We have chickens, so plenty of eggs around here. My kids are feeding 3 times a day, but pretty much keeping food in front of them at all times. My BIL swears by the Honor swine top dressing, but I think it cost more than its worth. $35 a week for 4 pigs. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
They are being fed free choice and have it in front of them at all times. It is supposed to be cooler this week, so I hope that will help.
 

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Gimme a YAAAAY!
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We raise pigs (for butcher, not show), but just wanted to say that we have found that they gain weight faster when they don't have free-choice.

Others slop and free-choice, but we feed only pellets twice a day. Ours finish out about 6 weeks sooner than theirs. We observed that they eat more when they eat at set times, maybe because they are hungry when they get fed and they know they won't get anymore until the next feeding. :shrug:

The size of the pen matters, too. Too large, and they run around too much.

Agmantoo, if Karen's 4-H is run like ours, they aren't allowed to slop. They have a strict diet and must be fed "show" pellets ($64 per 100 here, ouch!)

Are your rules as strict, Karen?
 

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Misty Gonzales
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They are being fed free choice and have it in front of them at all times. It is supposed to be cooler this week, so I hope that will help.
If we had a buffett of food in front of us all the time, at first it would be great....but soon, we would have nothing to look forward to. Get the feeder out, start handfeeding. Start with 3% of their body weight and work from there. If they are eating it in a hurry, up it, if not, lower it.

Are you wanting to win and place well or just get through it? This will make a big difference how you feed.
If you want to feed to win, you need to feed a show feed. Wether it is a grind and mix or prepared pellet. They will pack on the weight. Check the protien level in your ration. Find out who makes the additive and see if they have a nutritionist you can talk too.

We feed the HONOR products and always end up having to hold the pigs.
Our pigs are going to be done a month early this year. We will be feeding the $30 stuff to them too.
But we are showing to win, not just to make it there and sell a hog.

We are paying $40/cwt here for the honor pellets. That is all they get. We don't slop as it is "against the law" here too. Our sows get the leftovers though.

Oh ya, and everytime a pig gets up in the day, it will go eat. So have those kids get them up in the mid morning and afternoon.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We are not looking to win at the fair, just get through it this year. It is hard to compete with kids whose parents go out and buy them $300 weanlings for show pigs. This is the kids first year being able to show and I just want them to get the experience this year.

The pigs are in a small pen, about 12 by 12. We are still allowed to slop, but we make sure they are not getting animal products. They get misc kitchen scraps, etc. I know some kids around here go to the bakery thrift store and get them sweet rolls, etc to fatten them up if they are looking a little light.
 

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$300 is nothing around here. The only pigs that win come from the swine superintendents breeding program and range from $600 to $1,000. And he'll even sell you the expensive feed to go with it. Those kids don't even stand a slim chance of breaking even when they sell. However, one county over, last years winner was a $100 pig, fed $9 per 50 lb feed. I loved that judge. He didn't just go for the most expensive pig, he talked to each kid and explained to them why he placed them where he did, and told them what to work on for next year.
 

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Misty Gonzales
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most county fair judges have no idea what kids have paid for pigs. So he doesn't place them according to how much they cost. He may be an un-ethical judge and pick people he knows, but then again, they may have had had the best pig. We have found, the kids who put forth the least effort in the project (parents too) are the one's who complain the most about the winner and accuse others of cheating. My kids work their tails off on their projects and it shows. But we breed our own and they ALWAYS do well with them. They may not always win the grand prize, but they are always in the top 3 at county fair and they have always placed at state fair. On our county level, no one can beat my son in showmanship. They haven't in 4 years. Jeesh, I'm glad my kids never won when I was the superintendant of our show. Because I am sure if they did, it would have been for only one reason and that is we were the supers.
All of our judges do the same thing, talk to the kids, stay and ask questions after etc....
If you really want to help make positive changes, submit names of judges to your extension office. Talk to your fairboard. That is who makes the changes. Go to some meetings and get involved.
I don't want this to come across rude, but it touches a nerve when your kids are on the winning end most of the time and get accused of stuff that never went on.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Our fair book clearly states that the exhibitor must own, possess, and care for the hogs from weigh-in (March) until the fair. The kid that won reserve champ last year bought two pigs and never took them off the farm she bought them from. She never saw them until the weigh in at the fair and the livestock committee said that was fine. I think that is one of the things that bothers me so much. These youth exhibitors never put their hands on the livestock until the fair. Dad breaks the steer, Dad grooms the steer, Dad leads it to the arena where the kid take the lead rope and Dad waits at the gate and takes the lead when the class is over. These are usually the animals that get away from the exhibitors because they can tell the kids are nervous and don't really know what to do.
 

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The more ofter you feed, the more they will eat. Her first year, my daughter was feeding every 3 hours for the last 2 weeks, but he gained I think it was 45 lbs. in those 2 weeks. This year, we have dairy goats as well as the 4H pigs. We add the goat milk to the pigs feed. They devour it fast with the milk. Even just adding water makes them eat more. Eggs help to. We have chickens, so plenty of eggs around here. My kids are feeding 3 times a day, but pretty much keeping food in front of them at all times. My BIL swears by the Honor swine top dressing, but I think it cost more than its worth. $35 a week for 4 pigs. Good luck.
How many cups of food did your daughter feed every three hours?
 

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I hope your getting pig grower supplement from a feed store it keeps them healthy. My girl's have raised blue ribbon pigs and here's how we did it. 4H doesn't like you to feed slop but it's what puts a bloom on a pig. All left over people food you can get (NOT MEAT) feed them, take way the all the time feeder feed them up to 3x a day. Pig's need competition to feed well, the corn meal and oil is a good idea but easy on the oil because of will give them the ****s and you don't want that. Good luck and don't forget to have fun.
 

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Unpaid, Volunteer Devil's Advocate
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The 4H pigs getting the blue ribbons were generally fed Paylien. It plumps them up, grows the hams and inflames their joints. But if you need them to make weight, Paylien.
 

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This thread puts me in mind of an old story. An old farmer let his hogs forage for mast in his woodland. The guy at the feed store tried to get him to buy his super duper weight gaining high priced feed. The old farmer wasn’t having any and the feed store guy tried again saying “but your hogs will get to market weight sooner if you buy my feed.” The old farmer just looked at him and asked “what is time to a hog?”
 
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