You know that managing your show pig’s weight is essential to success in the ring. Inevitably everyone at one time or another needs to slow one down or speed one up. But what is the secret to weight management? There is no single answer, but here are some tips that will help you get your show pig ready.

It’s mission critical that you start keeping track of weight and how your pig is growing early.  It is much easier to either speed the pig up or slow him down a little for 6 weeks than finding out 2 weeks ahead of your county fair that your pig is either under or over weight.


It’s especially important to know early if your pig needs to gain a bit faster because we simply cannot make dramatic changes when trying to increase weight gain.

The first thing to do when you discover your pig needs to gain faster is check your watering system. Fresh cool water will help you more than almost anything at improving feed consumption.  If you are hand watering get rid of old water and add fresh cool water twice a day. If you have a continuous supply of water from overhead lines drain the stagnant water from the overhead lines twice a day.  You can also add Provilli to the water to improve gut health and appetite.

Do not increase protein or increase fat. Both are counterproductive and will reduce consumption, in the case of fat, or decrease feed conversion, in the case of protein.  No more than 16% crude protein is a good rule of thumb.  

You should also to continue to hand feed and pull the feeders after 20 minutes.  It seems counterintuitive but you can get a pig to eat more this way than leaving feed in front of him 24-7. 

Feeding multiple times a day is your other tool to marginally increase feed consumption. However, there is a point of diminishing returns. Three or four feedings max spread out through-out the day.

Paylean is another tool that you can use if it is available to you. As far as improving rate of gain the low level 4.5 grams per ton is as effective as 9 grams per ton. The cellular receptors that Paylean binds to controlling gain become resistant after a couple weeks but they reset and a receptive again in a week after you remove it so for maximum gain we recommend pulse dosing two weeks on and one week off.  As a side note the lean tissue accretion function of Paylean does not work that way so don’t pulse if you’re trying to add shape.

Last, but not least TrueGlo Turbo is the best appetite support product we make and the omega fatty acids are proven inflammation fighters. Less inflammation = better weight gain.


When we talk about reducing weight gain it’s also important to have a handle on your pig’s weight early again it’s much easier to make smaller changes over a longer period of time than crash diet.

Nutritionally there are three things you should be aware of when limiting gain.

1.     Protein / Amino Acids In order, to maintain shape and freshness you will need to supplement amino acids when you are limiting feed intake. Use Lysine as a proxy for all the rest. The textbook level of lysine for a 200# plus pig is 25 grams per day.  In our hands, we believe that a slightly higher level is needed to keep shape and freshness where we want it. We prefer to feed nearly 27-30 grams. This lysine requirement is why cutting feed isn’t effective to manage weight gain in show pigs.

a.     To calculate how much lysine is in the diet multiply the pounds of each feedstuff by 454 and then multiply that result by the percent lysine.

b.     So if your feed is 0.9% lysine and you’re feeding 6 pounds the grams of lysine daily would be: (454 X 6) X 0.009 = 24.5 grams

2.     Vitamins and minerals are another important consideration.  When we use soy flour or other soy based products to add the amino acids we are also adding certain anti-nutritional factors that can bind both macro and micro minerals.  Since we are still growing skeleton keeping those mineral levels where they need to be is mission critical to keep pigs moving the way they need to.  TrueTrac supplements both macro and micro minerals and TrueFit 2.0 is not soy based. So This isn’t as important to our customers as it might be with other programs.

3.     Fiber is something you want to add to a holding or slowing ration to keep pigs looking full and to help satisfy their appetite.  Oats are not an effective way to add fiber to a holding diet since they also add energy. You should also watch out for the fat levels in some of the fiber products out there.

The following is a ration we have used successfully to slow weight gain in a number of pigs. We’ve tinkered with it over the years but this is what we recommend today.

True North Holding Ration

1 Pound TrueFit 2.0

1 Pound 16% Balance

1 Pound Body Up or Mass Up

2 scoops TrueGlo Turbo or Turbo Shag and 2 scoops TrueTrac

  • This is the total ration for a day and should be split into two feedings.
  • This ration will result in almost zero gain.  To keep pigs looking the part you should let them gain a few pounds every 10 days that you feed this diet.  Ten days on 2-3 days off.
  • You should also let pigs gain for 5 days prior to your target show and hydrate muscles with a supplement like TruePOP.
  • If you want more weight gain simply add more show pig feed. Instead of feeding 1 pound of show pig feed per day feed 1 ½ or 2 pounds.
  •  Monitor weight closely when holding. We recommend weighing at the same time of day and when the pig is full daily.