Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Animal Science


Vitamins in swine diets have become more important in recent years as swine producers have changed to the confinement method of rearing pigs. When confined, swine are more likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies, especially a deficiency of vitamins. However, with greater knowledge of nutrition and establishment of vitamin requirements, swine producers are now able to include the essential nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins) and feed additives in a completely mixed diet. This method of feeding swine has been widely accepted since completely mixed diets support excellent gains and feed utilization; however this method of feeding is not completely void of limitations. Addition of small amounts of micro-nutrients requires additional equipment in order to insure adequate distribution throughout the feed mixture. In addition, the ration is difficult to change once it is mixed. Another potential method of feeding nutrients is through the drinking water. If this form of feeding proved sound and economical, then there may be advantages which do not exist in other forms of feeding swine. This method of supplying nutrients to swine has its greatest advantage in its flexibility. And automatic water line may be used to meter the proper dosage of nutrients to the animals. The addition of a small concentrated amount of vitamins to the drinking water requires no additional and perhaps less labor when compared to mixing vitamins in a carrier and then adding them to the diet. A daily supplementation is also possible and thus could permit the use of wormers and other medication through the same system. Environmental or physiological stresses often cause animals to stop eating, but animals seldom refuse water. Because animals will drink during sickness, therapeutic levels of vitamins and antibiotic can be and are commonly administered in the drinking water. There may also be disadvantages of supplying vitamins in the water for swine. Pigs tend to waste water, especially during the warmer season. Some vitamins may be lost in wastage; however, water wastage can be minimized with proper waters. Variation in water consumption may present another problem. Water consumption will vary due to season as well as individual needs, thus causing a range in vitamin intake from inadequate to more than adequate. Although potentially for this method of feeding swine exists, it must be made clear that this idea is based on an untried hypothesis. Therefore, an accurate evaluation of such a method cannot be made until further research has been completed. It was the purpose of this investigation to compare the performance of growing and finishing pigs given vitamins in the drinking water with pigs fed a completely mixed air-dry diet.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Swine -- Feeding and feeds




South Dakota State University