I on the hand chose to spend a portion of my connecticut vacation counting amino acids. Proteins are long, complicated piles of amino acids. Our bodies can create many of the amino acids; any which we can't we consider "essential" which is to say its "essential they are in your diet." Humans have 22 essential amino acids. Pigs only have 12.
In the tailored diet business, feed mixes are Carbs, Proteins and Misc. Carbs are cheap, Proteins are expensive. And unless the amino acids are balanced it can be wasted.
Vegetarians are very good at this. Rice and Beans is the m ost classic example of balancing proteins. Since animal proteins (which are generally very balanced) are expensive I have to think like a vegetarian.
Then I went in for fiber. Most Americans don't eat nearly enough fiber. It keeps your digestion regular and healthy, and encourages good gut flora.
My pigs, and chicken, on the other hand, have been having too much fiber. Too much fiber, especially in young animals retards growth: the stomach can only digest so much bulk at a time. Many conventional pig/poultry diets include oats to add fiber, but our spent brewing grains (which is 70% protein) is all the protein we need and more. So I also maxed out recommended fiber intakes.
I apparently took the wrong major in college. 1 more class in bio chem...
In the painful decade after graduation, where your life's work is given to Mr. Federal Direct (loans), Caitlin and I have wondered about the cost of education. This little challenge however, has reminded me to give due credit to the adaptability of my education: at least I was able to figure it out.
And the pigs are happy and balanced.