Functional Feeds: Making Trace Minerals Palatable for Pigs

The source of trace mineral can play a role in helping or harming feed palatability
calendar icon 23 August 2021
clock icon 8 minute read

Improving the palatability of feeds, especially for young swine is important for the animal’s long-term development and performance. A study done in 2017 tracked feed intake during early life and found that improved feed intake pre-weaning spurred better daily gain through the post-weaning period.5 By day 42, animals that started with higher feed intake and receiving feed with hydroxy copper weighed an additional 1.6 kg.

Improving feed palatability before weaning helps establish better feed intake, higher daily gain, and improved performance for pigs throughout production. Any boost to feed intake before weaning supports post-weaning growth and can provide significant reduction in total days to market.

Conclusion

As feed contains flavours that animals avoid, feed intake may decrease in the presence of such flavours. These tastes can include bitter, sour, and salty flavours, similar to flavours released by highly soluble trace minerals. As such, sulphate-based mineral inclusion produces an adverse response for several species when the additives are present in feed, while use of less reactive trace minerals such as IntelliBond hydroxychloride minerals can support or increase feed intake.

In reviewing the findings, researchers concluded that calves and pigs prefer to consume more stable trace mineral sources such as IntelliBond over sulphate or also over organic trace minerals across a variety of supplementation stages and strategies. Increased preferential intake and palatability as a result of stable, non-reactive trace mineral source supplementation can help lead to greater performance results including higher feed intake, daily gain and also body weight at and after weaning. Research shows that higher weaning weights also result in higher lifetime performance in swine and ruminant species.

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Sarah Mikesell

Editor

Sarah Mikesell grew up on a five-generation family farming operation in Ohio, USA, where her family still farms. She feels extraordinarily lucky to get to do what she loves - write about livestock and crop agriculture. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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