Feed is an important aspect of livestock farming. It determines the physical well-being of livestock which in turn translates to productivity and profitability. However, for the past few years feed costs have increased to such an extent that most farmers are not able to sustain balanced feed for livestock. Consequentially, the agricultural community has been facing great challenges in meeting the increasing world demand for livestock produce. To alleviate this problem, farmers are making use of unconventional feedstuff in livestock dietary plans, mainly fruits and vegetables. Since pineapple is highly famed for its nutritional benefits, it is among the fruits considered for livestock feed. Experts have reported that pigs can feed on pineapple as a means to supplement nutrients and minerals lacking in their dietary plans.

Nutritional Value

The post-harvest processing of pineapple fruit yields skins, crowns, and waste from fresh trimmings and the pomace after extracting the juice. These by-products make up the unconventional feedstuff for livestock. Pigs can feed on pineapple without experiencing any negative effects on maintenance, reproduction as well as production. According to research, pineapple wastes can replace the roughage portion in the diet partly or completely, and partly the cereals in the diet of meat animals. The upside of using pineapple supplements for livestock feed is that they are readily available and are a great way of cutting down on production costs. Pineapple has an impressive nutritional profile. It is packed in vitamins and minerals necessary for the well-being of livestock. It is made of carbohydrates, fat, protein, fibre, manganese, copper, thiamine, folate, potassium, magnesium and iron. Pineapple is also as source of niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and vitamins, particularly C and B6. Pigs can eat pineapple as a means to access these nutrients. Its superior nutritional profile allows it to be used in all stages of production. As a matter of fact, studies indicate that pigs can feed on pineapple for performance enhancement. Pineapple supplements can be fed either fresh, ensiled or after drying to the animals.

Similar to other unconventional feedstuff, pineapple supplements also have a downside. Although pigs can feed on pineapple by-products without any negative effects on health and productivity, this is only possible if it is ensiled with a complimentary feedstuff. Additives are sometimes necessary, depending on the nutritional profile of the formulated feed. Pineapples cannot solely sustain livestock dietary plans. This is because the amount of protein and calories found in the fruit is not enough to meet the nutritional requirements of pigs. As such, pigs can eat pineapple only if it is combined with a supplement rich in proteins and calories. To add on, pineapple is lacking in some minerals hence the need for additives. Studies also reveal that pigs do not relish dried pineapple bran offered ad libitum in the ration. It is also stated that the high crude fibre content fond in the vegetable limits its use in pigs with body weight that is less than 27kg. However, pigs can feed on pineapple supplements of approximately 50% provided they have a body weight of about 57kg.

Physical Development

Pigs can eat pineapple in order to acquire necessary nutrients and minerals for growth and development. Pineapple contains a substantial amount of crude fibre which contributes significantly to the balancing of nutrient requirements in livestock. Crude fibre is of the essence in livestock production through its influence on and interaction with the intake and digestion of nutrients. In lactating pigs, dietary fibre intake plays an important role in the prevention of milk fat depression; thereby allowing for the production of good quality colostrum needed in the development of young piglets. Additionally, the high amount of vitamin C found in the fruit plays a pivotal role in growth and development, and aids in the absorption of iron. Pigs can feed on pineapple because it a good source of manganese which is not only required for growth but for bone formation and enzyme activation. Additional benefits of pineapple in the physiological development of pigs include synthesis of vitamins, teeth and muscle development and energy metabolism. According to research, inclusion of pineapple supplements in swine dietary plans leads to an improvement in body weight gain and feed conversion efficiency. This allows for increased yields of superior quality thereby ensuring the success of the agricultural venture.

Despite the fact that pigs can feed on pineapple for improved production, this is not possible if the fruit is provided as a staple feed. As previously mentioned, pineapple is lacking in sufficient protein, minerals and calories; this means it cannot be solely used for growth enhancement. In fact, dietary plans consisting of solely pineapple exposes livestock to a number of health related issues which result in low quality colostrum, loss of body weight and increased risk of infectious and metabolic diseases. Other consequences include weakness, slow growth and bone fractures. It is therefore advisable to strictly follow the recommended feeding guidelines.

Health Maintenance

Pigs can feed on pineapple for health enhancement purposes. Pineapple is a rich source of minerals needed to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Its ability to maintain the immune system integrity allows livestock some form of tolerance against diseases and infection. Resultantly, animals are kept healthy thereby improving on productivity. Moreover, pigs can eat pineapple for acid-base balance, nerve transmission, repair of damaged tissue and teat keratin formation. According to research, livestock provided with insufficient rations of feed are prone to impaired reproduction, skeletal abnormalities, immune system dysfunction and poor colostrum among other issues. Pineapple is also a source of trace elements necessary for blood synthesis, hormone structure, normal reproduction, vitamin synthesis, enzyme formation, and immune system integrity. A common challenge for farmers is that deficiencies do not immediately impact production. Effects are witnessed over time which makes it difficult to provide supplements timeously. Pineapple supplements prevents any deficiencies leading to increased production for longer periods of time.

Pineapple is a good source of antioxidants. These play a crucial role in the prevention of oxidative stress. Oxidation is a state whereby there are too many free radicals in the body causing damage and weakening the immune system. Consequentially, production is reduced and so it the texture, taste and nutritional value of the meat. Pigs can feed on pineapple to gain some form of protection against the occurrence of oxidation. The compounds found in pineapple fight free radicals therefore allowing for healthy, high producing livestock.