Feed is an essential aspect of livestock farming. This is because it determines the success of the entire agricultural venture. Pigs require a balanced feed for maintenance, reproduction as well as production. In recent years, the practise of pig farming has grown significantly thereby increasing the demand for livestock feed. As a consequence, feed commands an exorbitant market price that is beyond the financial capacity of most farmers. This has led to the adoption of unconventional feedstuffs, primarily meant for human consumption. Since watermelon is highly famed for its nutritional value, it is among the feedstuff offered to livestock. Experts state that pigs can feed on watermelon without negatively impacting on health and productivity.

Nutritional Value

Watermelon is a good source of nutrients and minerals, particularly protein and dietary energy. These play an important role in pig growth and development. Watermelon also consists of vitamins and trace elements necessary for blood synthesis, hormone structure, normal reproduction, vitamin synthesis, enzyme formation, and immune system integrity. As such, pigs can eat watermelon in order to absorb essential nutrients for improved performance. According to various research studies, pigs that are provided with watermelon supplements tend to be highly productive compared to those on normal dietary plans. Although pigs can feed on watermelon for production purposes, caution should be taken not to offer excess feed as it can be detrimental to health. Experts state that watermelon seed meal should not constitute more than 30% of the dietary protein for starter pigs. This is due to deficiencies in lysine and meghionine. As pigs mature, they are able to tolerate slightly increased rations. A level of inclusion providing up to 50% of the dietary protein for grower and finisher pigs as well as breeding stock is able to sustain growth and production rates.

Physical Development

A well-balanced feed is necessary in all stages of production. Young piglets need nutritious feed for growth and development. Feeding a balanced diet to growing pigs from weaning through to slaughter not only ensures that pigs grow rapidly but helps to ensure that the carcass composition and meat quality is desirable. The added vitamins and minerals contained in watermelon supplements help to ensure that animals remain healthy throughout the growing phase. Watermelon is a source of protein necessary for growth purposes. Proteins comprises most of the enzymes that drive metabolism and are incorporated into the hormones that regulate body functions. Protein is also a significant component of muscle. If a diet that is deficient in protein or a specific amino acid is fed to growing pigs, animals are more likely to eat extra feed in a bid to acquire sufficient amounts of protein or the deficient amino acid to support weight gain. This means the pig will in all likelihood eat too much energy and consequently, become very fat. Also, pigs can feed on watermelon to supplement trace elements lacking in their daily dietary plans. Pigs have a dietary requirement for major minerals; these include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium. Deficiencies in trace elements are known to cause a number of health related issues that can potentially hinder growth and development.

Health Maintenance

Pigs can feed on watermelon to acquire nutrients and minerals needed for health maintenance. Feed is basically the most important aspect of livestock rearing. This is because it determines the success of the entire agricultural venture. Livestock provided with poor quality feed or insufficient feed often suffer from a number of diseases thereby limiting productivity. As such, since watermelon is a rich source of vitamins, it is recommended to livestock. Vitamins play an essential role in the maintenance of the immune system. Additionally, vitamins are responsible for calcium and phosphorus metabolism; formation of a blood clot, bone calcification and mineralisation. Also, pigs can eat watermelon as it contains protein needed for growth, maintenance, reproduction and production. In fact, every animal needs a certain minimum amount of protein daily in order to stay healthy and productive. Deficiencies are known to cause a chain of health related issues including small calves at birth, low milk production, lower protein content in the milk, loss of body weight, increased risk of infectious and metabolic diseases as well as fertility problems. Pregnant and lactating pigs can feed on watermelon so as to produce good quality colostrum. Young piglets are born with poor immune systems, therefore are reliant on colostrum for health maintenance. Pregnant pigs given insufficient feed in terms of ration and nutritional content produce poor quality colostrum putting young piglets at risk.

Oxidation

A balanced feed containing of vitamins and trace minerals with antioxidant compounds equips pigs with a stronger immune system. As such, pigs can eat watermelon to prevent the occurrence of oxidative stress. Studies reveal that watermelons are an excellent source of minerals needed to control the occurrence of oxidation which is a rampant problem within the agricultural industry. Numerous cases of oxidation are recorded by farmers yearly. For this reason, a great deal of agricultural research has been directed towards finding natural means of protecting livestock from oxidative stress. It has been proven that pigs with dietary plans consisting of watermelon rarely suffer from oxidative stress. The trace elements found in watermelon are responsible for scavenging free radicals and disrupting oxidative reactions. Resultantly, the meat produced has an ideal texture, taste and is of superior nutritional value therefore commands a higher market price.

Hydration

Water is essential for all categories of livestock. Whereas animals deprived of food can survive for a considerable time, without water they are most likely to die in a few days. Ideally, pigs should be provided with water at all times. However, this is sometimes a difficult task to achieve especially in the arid regions where annual rainfall is relatively low. According to research, insufficient water intake depresses a pig’s performance earlier, and more severely, than any other dietary insufficiency. Adequate water is therefore a paramount management concern. Pigs should be consuming more water with high protein ration feedings. That being said, pigs can feed on watermelon as it consists of a decent amount of water content. Animals are therefore able to keep hydrated for longer periods of time. Note that although pigs can feed on watermelon, excess feed is not advisable as it can be detrimental to health, production as well as profitability.