Recommendations for growing gilts.

Hi, have 4 saddleback gilts intended for the freezer. Currently on a 19% protein ration twice a day and fallen apples.

Aiming for them not to lay down too much fat, should I continue with this high protein diet? They probably weigh 35/40 kgs and would like to grow on for another couple of months.
Any recommendations please.


Will have to check the composition of our rations tomorrow, but from memory 19% is more of a 4wk weaner ration, rather than a grower ration. I think our sow roll (general purpose, lactating and dry) is 15%, with grower/finisher rations somewhere between those two.
But then our animals are ab-lib fed, so that'll probably make a difference.
Anyway, is it protein that gives rise to body fat, or energy?

How far do they look/feel? I know you can tickle a lamb to assess its fat cover for slaughter, but not sure about pigs. We condition-score the sows at service, but I'm not sure how that would play out for them on the hook, plus they're not the same size of pig at all... :unsure:

Our finishers generally look 'lean', but full of muscle at slaughter, and kill out at around 12mm P2.

In conclusion, I don't know.🤷‍♂️:ROFLMAO:

ETA: get your specs out... This is from my Ag Notebook, published in the late 70s (older than me, but probably applicable to your animals).


Last edited:

Eolas Álainn

Livestock Farmer

Not sure if you are still looking for this to be answered but let's see if this is any good to you.

Assuming you want high quality meat (less fat), you will want to make sure that you feed your gilts plenty of fresh grass (if you still can) mixed with vegetables (potatoes and carrots are my preference but sugar beets and pumpkin can also work) and concentrates. To change up the diet you can also include clover and nettles (boiled) in the diet. Cereals like barley, millet and rye can also be added to the diet to make it more well rounded.

With regards to 19% protein ration question, so long as the range is between 17% and 21% you should be ok. From my experience and from talking to others, 19%/20% is the ideal as if you go higher you actually run the risk of the gilts developing diarrhea and so they won't absorb the nutrients and will stunt their growth.

Hope this helps!
We've had a lot of interest in people wanting a pig or half a pig for the freezer, this isn't about making a fortune, just the best tasting pork we can.
Certainly been good for kids feeding them during lockdown period. And sister in law converted from being pestatarian after seeing last batch reared and made into joints and sausages and enjoying the taste.

Eolas Álainn

Livestock Farmer
Ah I see! I've actually written a few articles on this on my blog that you may find useful for general information. Pork is a great balance between beef and chicken nutritionally wise too :) Not to mention it's not actually that expensive to rear pigs!

Yea butchering animals can be tough on the stomach at times!

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