Importance of piglets feed intake before and after weaning

Trouw Nutrition
30 August 2021

The number of live born pigs has increased rapidly the recent years. However, sows milk production has not increased at the same rate. This means that the milk must be distributed among a higher number of during the lactation period, which potentially results in more underweight pigs upon weaning.

The switch from the sows’ milk to solid food can be a dramatic shift for a freshly weaned piglet.  However, this is not the only change that the piglets experience when weaning. The size of the pens, the design of the feeding systems, the number of pigs in the individual pen and the regulation of the climate vary widely - especially between herds. Regardless of the hygienic conditions and standard, most pig producers find that their piglets stop eating at this point. Feeding in the farrowing stables helps to mature the intestinal system, increase enzyme production (amylase, maltase, sucrose, peptidases) and minimize the energy deficit in weaning.

Weaning feed

It is very important that the weaning feed is optimally , and in particular, the feed's content of bioavailable amino acids is crucial for the growth of the animalslower the weaning weight, the greater the feed requirements. A lower weaning weight requires feed that contains easily digestible raw materials, such as milk and blood plasma (blood plasma is not legal in UK and OUA production).

Trouw Nutrition  has optimized the protein part of diets and uses highly digestible protein sources with optimal amino acid composition. This is obtained by combining milk protein and processed, easilydigestible soy protein so that a maximum proportion of the protein is absorbed and utilized. This also reduces the proportion of undigested protein.

Starch digestibility

Starch digestibility is the second cardinal point, as this is compromised in the first few weeks after weaning. The weaning feed is the pig's first encounter with starch. They have not previously needed to produce starch enzymes (amylases) and low secretion of these enzymes into the small intestine is probably the primary cause of the low starch digestibility.

Optimal milling and heat treatment can make the starch grains easier to digest, but the effect of the heat treatment will vary with the starch source (wheat, barley and oats). Undigested starch and protein provide a substrate for the microbiota and may form the basis for pathogenic microorganisms that increase the risk of diarrhea in piglets.

The solution has so far been the allocation of medical zinc in the feed, but its use must be phased out by latest June 2022 but could probably be accelerated to begin earlier from a political standpoint.

BigVitaal concept

With the proven BigVitaal  total concept from Trouw Nutrition, it ensures optimal performance, your piglets grow faster and at the same time remain healthy. This concept was significantly proven in the SEGES trial in September 2018, where it did not only prove that to feed piglets without zinc, fact it can provide a higher growth rate, better feed consumption and a lower mortality after weaning. At the same time the overall quality of the piglets was higher, with the obvious production benefit for the farmer

Selko PH

A very big and extremely important part of the BigVitaal concept itself is the use of Selko pH  in the drinking water.

As previously mentioned, weaners are particularly vulnerable to weaning, as their gastrointestinal flora is still developing.

Therefore, the presence of unwanted bacteria such as E.Coli and Salmonella can lead to direct damage to the gastrointestinal system, diarrhea and consequent poor efficiency.

The "buffered" organic acids in Selko pH reduce E. coli and salmonella levels in the gastrointestinal flora and help preserve and even increase the presence of lactic acid bacteria.

The synergistic mixture of free organic acids in Selko pH reduces the pH value and the buffer capacity of the feed in the pig's stomach, this is especially important for young animals, since the pH value here is relatively high.

The fact that the organic acids used in Selko pH are "buffered" is an important step towards achieving the best possible gastrointestinal environment in the pigs. Compared to "non-buffered" organic acids, the product is safer and can be used in a more flexible dosage, since the pH value in drinking water added with Selko pH does not fall below 3.5.

Click here to view the page of BigVitaal.

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