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How does the piglet steadily pass the weaning off

- Jan 25, 2019 -

How does the piglet steadily pass the "weaning off"

 The management of weaned piglets, especially the first week after weaning, is the “top priority” for piglet management because weaning is the biggest stress factor for piglets since birth. The feeding management techniques of piglets after weaning are directly related to the serious consequences of growth retardation of piglets, diarrhea in piglets, edema disease, and even death. This article will discuss the problems, mechanisms, and solutions that are likely to occur after weaning.

1.Piglet weaning

Irritable piglets are prone to problems. Weaning means that piglets no longer use breast milk to get food. Piglets need an adaptation process (usually 1 week), which is commonly referred to as "weaning off." If the feeding and management are not proper during this period, the piglets will have a series of problems.

1.1 Growth and undercut

Due to weaning stress, weaned piglets have poor appetite within a few days after weaning, and insufficient feed intake, resulting in no increase in piglet weight, but will decrease. It usually takes 1 week and the piglet weight will increase again.

The growth and development of piglets during the first week after weaning will have an important effect on the growth performance of the whole life. According to reports, for every 0.5kg increase in piglet weight during weaning, the number of days required to reach the market weight standard will be reduced by 2-3 days.

1.2 Piglet diarrhea

Weaned piglets usually develop diarrhea, which is characterized by loss of appetite, increased appetite, and yellow and green feces. At the beginning of the diarrhea, the tail trembles, but the temperature of the rectum is normal and the ears are cyanotic. After death, the anatomy showed systemic dehydration and the small intestine was full.

1.3 Edema death

Piglet edema disease occurs mostly in the second week after weaning, the incidence rate is generally 5%-20%, and the mortality rate can reach 100%. It manifests as tremors, difficulty breathing, movement disorders, and death within hours or days. At autopsy, the contents of the stomach were enriched, the gastric edema of the big curvature and the cardia, the shallow inguinal lymph nodes, the mesenteric lymph nodes, the orbital and mesenteric edema, vascular congestion and cerebral effusion.

2. Mechanism

2.1 Physiological characteristics of piglets

The fastest stage of development of the whole digestive tract of piglets is 20-70 days old, indicating that the growth of the digestive tract after 3 weeks of age, the acid environment in the stomach of piglets and the concentration of various digestive enzymes in the small intestine have a great change.

In the first few weeks after birth, the acid secretion in the stomach is very limited, and it usually takes 8 weeks to have a more complete secretion function. This situation severely affected the full digestion of protein in the diet by weaned piglets before 8 weeks of age. Lactating piglets contain lactic acid in breast milk, which makes the acidity in the stomach larger, that is, the pH value is smaller. Once the piglets are weaned, the pH in the stomach is significantly increased.

The secretion of enzymes in the digestive tract of piglets is generally low, but it changes significantly with the development of the digestive tract and the stimulation of food. Among them, carbohydrate enzymes, proteases and lipases will gradually increase.

2.2 Immune status of piglets

Newborn piglets obtained maternal antibodies from colostrum, and the maternal antibody reached the highest peak at 1 day of age, and then the antibody titer gradually decreased. The titer of maternal antibody at the age of 2-4 weeks is low, and active immunization is not perfect. If weaning during this period, piglets are prone to disease.

2.3 Changes in microflora

The microorganism in the digestive tract of suckling piglets is lactic acid bacteria, which can reduce the damage of nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract, reduce the production of toxins, improve the protective effect of gastrointestinal mucosa, and effectively prevent digestive disorders and diarrhea caused by pathogenic bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria are best grown in an acidic environment. After weaning, the pH value in the stomach increases, the lactic acid bacteria gradually decrease, and the Escherichia coli gradually increases (the environment grows when the pH is 6-8), and the original microflora is destroyed, resulting in disease.

2.4 Stress response

After weaning, the piglets will have a mental and physiological stress due to leaving the sow, and leave the original living environment, which is not suitable for the new environment, such as low temperature, high humidity, windy, and no disinfection of the house. Thorough, resulting in conditional diarrhea in piglets.

3. Piglet feeding management measures

3.1 Supplementary feeding

Piglets grow very rapidly. At 2-4 weeks of age, the nutrients provided by breast milk are no longer sufficient for their growth needs, and supplementation can reduce feed conversion stress after weaning. According to the study, feeding at 12 days of age, the secretion of hydrochloric acid and pepsin in the stomach at 21 days of age was higher than that of piglets that were not supplemented before weaning. Supplementation also prevented the degree of intestinal villi and crypts from deepening.

The choice of raw materials for the diet. The selection of feed ingredients suitable for the digestive physiology of piglets is the preparation of high-quality weaned pig diets, increased feed intake after weaning, increased growth rate and reduced weight conditions for squatting. These materials include skimmed milk powder, whey powder, lactose, spray dried plasma powder, high quality fish meal, puffed soybeans, and peeled high protein soybean meal. According to the study, whey powder can significantly improve the performance of the first 2 weeks of 3-4 weeks old weaned pigs. Because it is a dairy product, it contains natural milk flavor, which can promote the appetite of the piglets, increase the feed intake, and enter the stomach. Producing lactic acid and lowering the pH value in the stomach of weaned piglets are beneficial to the digestion of food proteins. Spray-dried plasma powder contains 68% protein and contains anti-disease factors for excellent taste. It is an ideal raw material for weaned pigs.

Use of acidifiers. The pH of the digestive tract of the piglet (pH) is important for dietary protein digestion. A large number of studies have shown that the addition of organic acids to the corn-soybean meal diet of weaned piglets at 3-4 weeks of age can significantly increase the daily gain and feed conversion rate of piglets. It is known that the effects of organic acids are citric acid, fumaric acid (fumaric acid) and propionic acid, and the amount added depends on the age of weaning.

Use of enzyme preparations. The purpose of adding enzyme preparations in piglet diets is to compensate for the decreased activity of digestive enzymes after weaning, improve the digestion and utilization of feed, and improve the growth rate of piglets. The most successful enzyme preparation is phytase.

High copper application. The addition of high-dose copper to piglet diets has a significant growth-promoting effect and can increase feed conversion. The amount added is generally from 0.02% to 0.05%.

High zinc application. The addition of high zinc to piglet diets has a similar effect as high copper, in addition to improving piglet growth performance, it also prevents piglets from squatting.

Mothers have a poor ability to respond to environmental changes, especially temperature changes. After the piglets are weaned, the sows are driven away and the piglets remain in the original circle, which reduces the stress level.

Suitable for house temperature. Freshly weaned piglets are very sensitive to low temperatures. The smaller the piglet's weight, the higher the required weaning environment temperature and the more stable it is. According to reports, in the first week after weaning, if the daily temperature difference exceeds 2 degrees, piglets will develop diarrhea and poor growth.

Dry ground. Moisture can cause piglets that are not hot enough to catch cold and lower body temperature.

Avoid thieves. Piglets exposed to thief winds have a 6% slower growth rate and a 6% increase in feed consumption.


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