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Strategies to Improve Post Weaning Performance

16 April 2013

CANADA - Variability in growth is a cost to commercial pork production, especially those utilizing all-in-all-out production systems. A study at Prairie Swine Centre with a large number of litters, observed an average birth weight of 1.4 kg, however the range was from 0.40 kg to 2.50 kg.

The smaller birth weight piglets in this study (defined as piglets 0.85 grams or less at birth) failed to demonstrate any evidence of compensatory growth, and their rate of gain lagged behind their larger cohorts throughout all stages of growth, resulting in an additional 10 days to reach market weight.

Weaning diets, which are expensive, are designed to safely transition the piglet from the liquid milk diet to a solids diet. They are typically complex and contain ingredients providing benefits beyond basic nutrient consideration. We hypothesized that light-weight piglets would show a relatively greater response to a high-quality weaning diet, specifically one containing blood products, than their heavier birth-weight counter-parts. This would reduce overall variability at nursery exit.

The feed must obviously be consumed to provide any benefit and it takes some piglets more than 24 hours to commence consumption of solid food. The overall objective of this experiment was to optimize the dietary regime fed to piglets immediately post-weaning for greatest overall net return. We focused on adaptation to the solid feed immediately post-weaning.

ThePigSite News Desk

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