No Impact on Performance from Feeding Creep Feeds

CANADA - Preliminary research conducted by the Prairie Swine Centre suggests the use of creep feeds to help piglets make the transition from mother's milk to solid feed has no impact on performance, Bruce Cochrane writes.
calendar icon 29 July 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Creep feeds are high quality feeds typically given to the nursing piglet during the final week or so prior to weaning to supplement the mother's milk and ease the transition to solid feeds.

As part of a study looking at the body weights of piglets and the effect of different diets at weaning researchers compared the growth of piglets fed creep feeds prior to weaning to those not fed creep feeds.

Dr Denise Beaulieu, a research scientist nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre, says although the study was conducted in a non-commercial situation it showed no overall benefit from feeding creep.

Dr Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre

We were doing another study looking at body weights of piglets and the effect of different diets at weaning and it just happened that at the time we were switching from creep feeding to not creep feeding the piglets.

When I went back and compared the results I was quite surprised to see that we did not see any benefits on overall growth in the nursery and we also noticed that the piglets who had not received creep were actually more interested in going up to the feeder and investigating the feed so there again one of the other benefits of creep, that we think it just gets the piglets more used to the dry feed, we didn't see that in our study either so we're going back to reexamine this to see if when pigs are in a more typical commercial situation, that is when there's more competition, to see if we get the same results.

However regardless our study does show that in a situation if the piglets do not have competition, that is if they're not having to fight for space, then regardless of creep they'll do just fine at weaning.

Dr Beaulieu hopes to have results from the follow-up study available to producers in early fall.

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