The success of any livestock agricultural venture is heavily reliant on feed. This is because animals require balanced feeds for maintenance, reproduction as well production. Livestock provided with poor quality feed are generally less productive and prone attack by diseases and infection which puts the entire venture at risk. In recent years, the agricultural community has been under pressure to meet the growing demand for livestock feed. To worsen the pressure, the price is feed is continuously on the rise, beyond the financial capacity of most farmers. As such, a great deal of research has been directed towards finding affordable alternative livestock meal, particularly unconventional feeds. Among these studies is whether pigs can eat oranges without experiencing any negative effects on health and productivity.

Nutritional Value

Pigs can eat oranges without adversely impacting on maintenance, reproduction and production. As a matter of fact, studies indicate that oranges contain essential nutrients and minerals for livestock maintenance. Oranges are a source of proteins, soluble fibre in the form of pectin and cellulose, calcium and phosphorus. They are also an excellent source of vitamins and contain approximately 54% water soluble sugars. Detailed, oranges like all other citrus contain lipids namely; oleic, linoleic, linolenic, palmitic, stearic acids, glycerol, and a phytosterols. They also sugars in the form of glucose, fructose and sucrose; additionally, they have flavonoids and minerals, particularly potassium and calcium. According research, oranges provide farmers with rich livestock feed which is most valuable during dry periods. Pigs can feed on oranges, particularly fresh citrus pulp, citrus silage, citrus meal and fines and citrus molasses. Citrus pulp is said to be the most versatile; it is highly palatable, rich in nutrients and can be easily mixed with other feedstuff. Note that the nutritional composition of oranges is influenced by factors such as growing conditions, maturity, rootstock, variety and climate.

Pigs can feed on oranges to absorb necessary nutrients and minerals for daily sustenance. It has been proven that oranges play an essential role in the growth and development of livestock. They contain trace elements that are of the essence in the long term maintenance of livestock health.  Oranges consist of a high water content and are perishable in nature. In addition, they are difficult to handle, and ferment quickly which presents a major challenge. To add on, oranges are low in amino acids hence the need to ensile with a complementary feed. It is advisable for farmers to acquire detailed knowledge on the nutritional value of the fruit in comparison to daily dietary requirements of pigs. This helps to determine the most suitable feed as well as ration for livestock at different levels of maturity. It is generally a common practise to combine the feed with wheat or rice straw in a ratio of 70:30 to produce an excellent silage.

Physical Development

Pigs can fed on oranges to acquire the nutrients and minerals needed for daily sustenance and physiological development. Oranges contain approximately 5 to 10% crude protein which is responsible for teeth, bone and muscle development. Protein found in oranges is needed for growth, maintenance, reproduction and production. In general every animal needs a certain minimum amount of protein daily in order to stay healthy and productive. Feeding of phosphorus is recommended for better structural and bone strength. Moreover, pigs can eat oranges to absorb minerals and vitamins needed for their maintenance as well as proper functioning of their physiological systems. Oranges are also a source of calcium which is said to be the main mineral found in the body and is mostly stored in the skeleton. The amount of calcium absorbed depends on the level of vitamins in the diet. As such, not only are oranges important for their calcium content but they also contain a significant amount of vitamins allowing for nutrients high intake.

Pigs can eat oranges provided that they are utilized in limited quantities. Despite their benefits to livestock maintenance, reproduction and production, oranges are known to be harmful to monogastric animals. Most farmers make the mistake of offering similar dietary plans to ruminants and non-ruminants. The challenge with such dietary plans is that monogastric animals digest feed similarly to humans and so some feed suitable for ruminants may not be as ideal for pigs. This is the case with orange diets. Pigs are generally less tolerable to excess orange feed. Studies reveal that pigs given too much orange feed often experience adverse effects on growth and development. It is recommended to include roughly 5% to 10% oranges in the diet of growing pigs. Higher rates can hinder growth, feed conversion efficiency and carcass yield. Farmers are advised to offer ensiled citrus pulp which has been proven to improve meat quality and growth performance.

Health Maintenance

Pigs can eat oranges for health purposes. Oranges are a rich source of bioactive compounds such as flavonoids which play an important role in enhancing and modulating the immune system. They also contain vitamins and trace elements necessary for blood synthesis, hormone structure, normal reproduction, vitamin synthesis, enzyme formation, and immune system integrity. Trace elements are often ignored as effects are not witnessed immediately. Farmers should be aware that deficiencies in trace elements exposes livestock to a number of health related issues. Furthermore, pigs can feed on oranges so as to keep hydrated. Ideally, water should be made readily available to livestock. However, this is sometimes not the case, especially in arid areas. Oranges then become an important water source allowing pigs to stay hydrated for longer periods of time. Animal dietary plans lacking in sufficient supply of water are known to cause detrimental effects to health. Keep in mind that oranges contain toxic compounds hence should be kept at minimum. Some experts advise to use oranges as treats instead of main pig feed.

Antioxidant Agent

Oranges contain antioxidant compounds that are responsible for the control of oxidation. As such, pigs can feed on oranges as a means to prevent the occurrence of lipid oxidation which is a rampant problem in livestock farming. Synthetic antioxidants have been banned in most countries. Furthermore, the current global craze on healthier feed options has led to the need to lower usage of artificial medication. The polyphenols found in oranges work by scavenging free radicals and disrupting oxidative reactions. They are responsible for suppressing reactive oxygen species by inhibiting enzymes involved in their production. Oranges are an effective way of naturally managing livestock health thereby allowing for the production of a superior quality yield that commands a higher market value.