Animal fats used in swine nutrition
For pig nutrition, adding fats of animal origin is beneficial, mainly as a source of energy, but also as a vehicle for fat-soluble vitamins and the flavor it provides to the meat.
What are animal fats?
By origin, fats can be of animal, vegetable and mixture origin. Animal fats can be polyunsaturated (of marine origin, such as fish oil), unsaturated (from poultry), moderately unsaturated (from pigs), saturated (from beef), and mixtures of them.
Animal fats are fats obtained from chickens, pigs or beef, but also those that come from milk, such as butter, cheese and other dairy products, and those that come from fish, such as fish oil.
Animal fat is obtained after having melted the fatty tissue of the animal: lard is obtained from pork, tallow is obtained from lamb or beef and, by skimming milk, butter is made.
Animal fats contain cholesterol and stimulate cholesterol production in the human body. They provide a great contribution of calories and an exaggerated consumption could lead to obesity. The caloric equivalent of 450 grams of animal fat is 3,500 calories.
In recent years, animal fats have gained a bad reputation, due to high cholesterol and harmful effects on human health, especially the heart. However, there are studies that show its positive aspect, when consumed with moderation.
Animal fat in pig nutrition
For pig nutrition, adding fats of animal origin is beneficial, mainly as a source of energy, but also as a vehicle for fat-soluble vitamins and the flavor it provides to the meat. The lipids present in the muscle tissue provide juiciness, tenderness and good flavor to pork meat.
The fat in the diet of pigs must be introduced in a percentage between 3 and 5% (representing between 250 and 500 Kcal), also taking into account the age of the animal and the breed. By introducing a fat supplement, the production parameters and feed conversion are improved, therefore, costs are reduced. The fat contains 2.25 times more energy than corn and is an important source of energy for the animal. The most used energy source for pigs is corn, followed by vegetable and animal fats.
Benefits of animal fat in pig nutrition
In pig nutrition, the most frequently used fats are soybean or sunflower oil and animal fat. Animal fat is in solid format, while oils are liquid.
Being in a solid state, animal fat needs special heating equipment and a suitable storage system.
As benefits of animal fat in pig production we can mention:
In sows, it improves milk production and milk fat, having a positive effect on piglet weight. It can increase the birth weight and survival of piglets. Improves sow longevity and helps maintain sow performance in periods of heat stress.
In weaned piglets it increases weight gain and feed efficiency. In the growth stage, fat is very important as an energy source and improves the rate of lean tissue deposition.
In finishing pigs, for every 1% of fat added, it is considered that weight gain increases by 1% and the feed conversion ratio improves by approximately 2%.
At all stages of growth, added fat helps maintain performance during heat stress.
Improvements in the quality of animal fat
Pig feeding is one of the most important factors to obtain quality meat. Due to autoxidation or rancidity, animal fat used in diets must be accompanied by antioxidants. Rancidity can affect the acceptance of the feed, as well as the health of the animal and the quality of the final product.
Commonly used antioxidants, such as BHA and BHT, can accumulate in animal fat and make their way up the food chain. Although it has been shown that in small amounts they are safe, if the limit is exceeded they can harm human health, increasing the risk of cancer.
Therefore, we recommend the use of natural antioxidants, such as those developed and produced by Biovet SA, Alquernat Antiox P and L and Alquernat Oxyfree P and L:
– Alquernat Antiox P and L are designed to prevent the oxidation of fats, vitamins and carotenes in the feed. Combines the synergistic antioxidant activities of vitamin C and vitamin E.
– Alquernat Oxyfree P and L are natural antioxidants for feed and fats.