Piglet Nutrition Research Feeds Hunger for Knowledge
Micronutrients are needed in small quantities and are essential elements. Three that are transferred from the sow to the piglet after birth are copper, vitamin A and vitamin D. Naturally these are obtained by soil, plants and UV light but these sources are not present in a pig barn. They are most effectively administered at age 2 and 8 days orally, with UVB exposure every second day of lactation. When supplemented to the sow, piglets had a higher birth weight and microflora was improved. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a natural hormone found in the sows’ milk that helps with piglet growth. Since they are being weaned earlier, their development and growth are much slower from lack of this hormone. Piglets’ intestinal development can be enhanced by providing an EGF supplement in the feed, resulting in an enhanced gain-to-feed ratio, growth and body weight gain. Feed efficiency is also increased in newly-weaned pigs by providing acid-preserved wheat which could help save costs. In the question of simple versus complex nursery diets, simple soybean based diets had less growth in piglets initially, but both groups were of equal size at the end of nursery and at market with similar carcass evaluations. Due to no longer having antibiotics in the feed, post-weaning diarrhea has become more of a problem. Organic acid can be added to the diet to help mitigate this problem by increasing feed efficiency, average body weight and daily gain. There are many ways to improve the health of piglets through nutrition and they do not always have to be more expensive.
Piglet Nutrition Research Feeds Hunger for Knowledge (full article)