Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 337–347 | Cite as

Nutrient requirements and low-cost balanced diets, based on seasonally available local feedstuffs, for local pigs on smallholder farms in Western Kenya

  • Natalie Ann CarterEmail author
  • Catherine Elizabeth Dewey
  • Lian Francesca Thomas
  • Ben Lukuyu
  • Delia Grace
  • Cornelis de Lange
Regular Articles


Growth performance of pigs on smallholder farms in the tropics is low. Lack of feedstuffs, seasonal feed shortages, and feeding nutritionally unbalanced diets contribute to slow growth. Low-cost balanced diets are needed to improve pig performance. In this study, we estimated the nutrient requirements of local pigs on smallholder farms in Kenya and developed balanced low-cost diets using seasonally available local feedstuffs. Diets were formulated to provide pigs with 80 % of the nutrient density in corn and soybean meal-based (reference) diets to minimize the cost per unit of energy and other nutrients. Estimated requirements for starting and growing pigs (8 to 35 kg body weight) were as follows: digestible energy (DE) 2960 kcal/kg of dry matter (DM), standardized ileal digestibility (SID) lysine 5.8 g/kg of DM, calcium 2.8 g/kg of DM, standardized total tract digestible (STTD) phosphorous 1.4 g/kg of DM, and crude protein 85 g/kg of DM. Nutrient requirements of local pigs on smallholder farms in Kenya were lower than those of exotic breed pigs raised in commercial settings. Seasonally available local feedstuffs were used to develop low-cost balanced diets. Twenty-two diets are presented based on season, cost, and feedstuff availability. This study has broad applicability as a case study of an approach that could be applied in other tropical regions in which smallholder pig keeping is practiced and where local feedstuffs for pigs are available seasonally.


Nutrient requirements Pigs Sub-Saharan Africa Diet Feeding stuffs Subsistence farmers 



We thank Ontario Veterinary College, Ontario Agricultural College, International Livestock Research Institute, Karen Richardson and Dr. Hector Martinez for their technical assistance and Dr. Eric Fevre, Wellcome Trust, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the People, Animals and their Zoonoses (PAZ) project team members, William DeGlanville, Annie Cook, Omoto Lazarus, and the village elders and farmers who participated in this research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie Ann Carter
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Catherine Elizabeth Dewey
    • 1
  • Lian Francesca Thomas
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ben Lukuyu
    • 2
  • Delia Grace
    • 2
  • Cornelis de Lange
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Population MedicineUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.International Livestock Research InstituteNairobiKenya
  3. 3.Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, Institute for Immunology and Infection Research, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  4. 4.Department of Animal BiosciencesUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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