Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Animal Science


Scientists are continually searching for new compounds, as well as optimum levels and combinations of existing compounds, in order to improve gain and feed efficiency of pigs fed common swine rations without adversely affecting the quality of the pork produced. Feed efficiency is of particular importance to a profitable swine enterprise since feed costs make up approximately 65% of total production costs. During the last two decades there has been considerable interest in the ability of copper to increase gains and feed efficiency when fed at high levels in swine rations. Several reports have indicated that copper is an effective growth stimulant when added to swine rations at a level of approximately 250 ppm. The mode of action of copper and the response from copper appear to be similar to that obtained from using an antibiotic. With increased concern of public health officials and the Food and Drug Administration there is the possibility of limiting the tolerance of antibiotics in tissues of meat animals or of antibiotics being prohibited in swine feeds in the future. A nutrient which would have a similar beneficial effect in improving swine production would be of great benefit to producers. However, the widespread usage of copper as a feed additive has been restricted by reports of toxicity at levels generally recommended for improving rate of gain and feed efficiency. It is possible that high levels of copper could create an imbalance of minerals within the animal and thus impair normal body function. The objectives of this research were (1) to study the effects of copper when fed at levels of 250 or 500 ppm on growth, feed efficiency, carcass characteristics and other selected physiological parameters, and (2) to study the effects of added zinc and iron, and molybdenum in counteracting any toxic effects of copper.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Swine -- Feeding and feeds

Feed additives

South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University