Are My Pigs Eating?
Recent trials conducted at the Prairie Swine Centre, Inc. have confirmed the importance of feed intake by the piglet immediately post-weaning and/or consumption of creep feed in the farrowing room. We have also demonstrated that more than half of the piglets may not consume either creep feed, or the starter diet immediately post-weaning.
However, in commercial barns, where producers typically measure feed disappearance, piglets are maintained in groups, which makes it difficult to determine which piglets are actually consuming feed. In order to estimate which piglets consume some of the food offered during a specified time period, we have developed a technique where
we incorporate non-toxic, food grade dye into the ration. We then used this technique on commercial farms, to demonstrate to participating swine producers, and swine producers in general, that a proportion of pigs in a pen may not be accessing feed during a 24 to 48 hour period. Producers may adopt and use this method periodically on farm to determine if management changes affect the proportion of piglets accessing the feed.