Palatability and Digestibility Key to Starting Piglets on Solid Feed

CANADA - A research scientist with the University of Manitoba says palatability and digestibility of rations is key to getting newly weaned piglets off to a healthy productive start, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 1 March 2016
clock icon 3 minute read

As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc a multi-institutional multi-disciplinary team of scientists is conducting research aimed at enhancing the nutritive value of diets fed to newly weaned piglets.

"Feeding Piglets: Gut Health for Optimum Growth" was discussed earlier this month as part of the 2016 Manitoba Swine Seminar.

Dr Martin Nyachoti, a professor with the University of Manitoba, says, when formulating rations for newly weaned piglets we have select palatable ingredients that the pig will eat and it has to be readily digestible.

Dr Martin Nyachoti-University of Manitoba:

I think one of the most important considerations is to make sure that the feed that we put together, first of all pigs can actually eat that feed and number two that they can be able to digest that feed.

The main challenge in that case is the piglet is used to taking the mother's milk, which is very delicious, it's in a liquid form and when we wean the pig we put it on a solid feed.

The solid feed is kind of foreign to the piglet so what we want to introduce the piglets, while they're still with the sow, to a dry feed by introducing a creep feed for example where they can get a chance to get used to eating a dry feed.

So we have to introduce the piglet to the feed, we have train the piglet to actually eat the dry feed.
We might, in some cases, people might use a wet feed for example to try and encourage feed intake or simply selecting the type of ingredients that taste good to the piglets.

Dr Nyachoti says inadequate feed intake following weaning will result in damage in the lining of the gut which means enzyme development and the ability to digest feed and absorb nutrients will be affected, so we have to make sure the piglet will eat the feed.

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