Salt. Sodium and chlorine are the two elements that make up salt. The minimum salt requirement for growing pigs is 0.25 percent. Lactation diets should contain 0.50 percent salt, compared to 0.40 percent for gestation diets and 0.35 percent for growing pig diets.
Sodium and chlorine, along with potassium and magnesium, are involved in the control of cellular functions and the acid-base balance in the body. For example, sodium is required for normal nerve function. Chlorine forms part of hydrochloric acid, required for digestion in the stomach.
Feeding salt-deficient diets results in poor performance and loss of appetite. Pigs can stand high levels of salt if adequate water is available. If adequate water is not present, high levels of salt can result in lack of coordination, stumbling, and even death.