The Effect of Dietary Protein and Palm Oil on Performance, Age, and Weight at Puberty of Indigenous Pigs in Nigeria
Forty-eight indigenous pigs averaging 89.6 days in age and 12.9 kg body weight were used in a 4 x 2 factorial experiment. Dietary treatments were 15 and 18% levels of protein and 0, 2, 4 and 8% levels of palm oil, added to each protein level. The diets were fed ad libitum and water was available at all times until the onset of puberty (first estrus). Increasing the protein content of the diet gave significantly higher rates and efficiency of gain in pigs. Increasing the palm oil content of the basal 15 or 18% protein diet improved rate and efficiency of gain up to 4% palm oil level in the 18% protein diet but only up to 2% palm oil level in the 15% protein diet, indicating a need for increased dietary palm oil/energy with increased protein intake to maintain conversion efficiency. Increasing the palm oil content of the basal 15% or 18% protein diet improved feed consumption at all palm oil levels in the 15% protein diets but only up to 4% palm oil level, in the 18% protein diets. Increasing the protein content of the diet resulted in heavier and younger pigs at puberty. Increasing the palm oil content of a basal 15% or 18% protein diet did not appreciably affect big weights at puberty (range 33.3 to 36.1 kg) unlike age of pigs at puberty which was significantly reduced (range 152.3 to 167.5 days) by increasing dietary palm oil levels.