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Method For Balancing Diets Between Sows And Piglets

- Sep 10, 2018 -

Method for balancing diets between sows and piglets

The right feed and the right feed ingredients help the sows and piglets perform better. If in the diet, in sow and piglet nutrition, everything is neatly balanced, it will result in a more uniform nest and fewer slaughter days.

Nutritional factors determine the healthy and effective growth of piglets before and after birth. At birth and weaning, piglets need to grow in a uniform manner to prevent feed or high competition for the feed. Sows need to be properly fed to ensure that the developing fetus has enough nutrients to grow evenly in the uterus. Piglets can only obtain antibodies from their mother's colostrum within the first 24 hours of life, rather than getting antibodies through the placenta like other mammals. Therefore, the immune status of the sow and the level of immunoglobulin (Ig) in the colostrum are essential to ensure that the litter can withstand any exposure to the pathogen.

Young animals face various challenges in digestion, nutrient absorption and gut health, especially at weaning. If the intake is too low or the digestive disorder reduces the level of nutrients available to the animal at weaning, then any loss of average daily weight gain will affect the performance of the animal throughout the growth period until slaughter. The immune status at weaning is important because at 2 to 3 weeks of age, maternal antibodies are reduced and the so-called "weaning gap" occurs as the piglet transitions to its own acquired immunity.


It is necessary to combine quality feed and use professional feed ingredients to ensure the health and good growth rate of the litter. Photo: Koos Groenewold

Combination of feed and feed ingredients

Both sow and piglet diets require a combination of quality feed and specialty feed ingredients to ensure the health and good growth rate of the litter. Certain enteric active ingredients, such as Actigen, promote the correct bacterial population and participate in the normalization of the intestinal flora to support intestinal and immune health. The quality of colostrum depends on various other factors of the sow, including heredity, weight, fat level and physical condition score, age and disease status. For farm management and employees, some of these factors are less controllable than others. The ingredients used in feed are one of the controllable factors that can be addressed, and there are many studies that support the effectiveness of this method in pups.

The above-mentioned enteric active ingredients can be specifically designed for feed use in sows and piglet diets, which have been confirmed in more than 20 years of research. This method has been shown to increase the amount of colostrum produced and also increase the concentration of immunoglobulin (Ig). Recent data suggests that this strategy may directly benefit the promotion of genes associated with performance. Increasing sow immunity will promote the ability of piglets to absorb higher levels of Ig from colostrum. This has been demonstrated in tests in which sows receive the ingredients in the feed to promote Ig in colostrum. Subsequent piglet birth weight increased significantly from the average of 1.509 kg of control (unsupplemented) sows to 1.551 kg of sows receiving the supplement.

How does the improvement work?

The study not only examined how sows affect the growth of piglets, but also how these improvements are genetically oriented. Certain nutrients and enteric active compounds are known to affect which genes are turned on and off in intestinal tissue. In 2014, a research team led by Alltech's Daniel E. Graugnard initially reported that IgG in sow colostrum supplemented with feed additives in gestational diets increased significantly from 5,775 mg / dl to 6,500 mg / dl (control) group). As a result, piglets from piglets supplemented with sows increased their birth weight by 0.6 kg.

However, this study went a step further by analyzing changes in gene conversion in cells from intestinal samples. By probe analysis used in the Porcine GeneChip, 397 genes were down-regulated, and 262 genes were up-regulated in jejunal tissues from pigs supplemented with enteric active sows. The authors believe that these changes are related to pathways such as intestinal filling, signaling of starvation and satiety, enrichment of cell and intestinal tissue development, and cell proliferation and differentiation. Therefore, feeding this ingredient to a sow during pregnancy may have an impact on cat litter development, improved digestion and assimilation of nutrients, and may affect immunity.

Oral supplement

If feeding a sow supplement is not an option, then her newborn piglet can be orally replenished with the same ingredients to take advantage of its health and growth rate. In 2006, Professor Peter Spring of the Swiss Agricultural University reported the results of the test, in which piglets were orally administered (at birth and 24 hours after delivery) and the level of Ig in the blood was recorded. They reported that piglets given supplements by oral gavage had an average of 16 mg/ml at 3 days of age and 13 mg/ml from the control group.

In a parallel reported trial in which piglets were orally suspended in the same manner, serum IgG levels in 48-hour-old piglets were significantly higher than 55.62 mg/ml, compared with 42.08 mg/ml in the unsupplemented group. This further promoted the number of litters (by survival) and body weight at 3 days of age and reduced the weaning age (8.2 kg average body weight) by half a day. It is therefore concluded that the increase in the quantity and quality of colostrum Ig in sows fed supplements has a significant impact on piglet health and vitality, and that savings in achieving weaning weight are also of economic benefit to producers.

Supplementing sows and piglets

For the sows and piglets that received supplements, they showed a good response. In 2013, in a study conducted by the company's Terry McArdle, the feed for sows and their piglets was 800 g/t of feed, the litter weight increased by 1.3 kg at weaning, and the daily extra weight increased by 123 g. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) increased by 0.27 and feeding units decreased by 15 days, which means significant savings.

The dam did not receive any supplemental piglet feeding trials focused on the effects of supplements contained in creep and starting feed. In 2015, Professor Peter Spring once again formed a team to study the effects of supplements in feed and its impact on animal performance. For growing pigs, the average response of 123 individual growth test results showed an average weight gain increase of 4% and an FCR increase of 2.3%.

Promote piglet growth and health

Piglets need good feeding; using proven active ingredients in their diet can help promote piglet growth and health in a number of ways. Actigen has decades of research data to support its efficacy and mode of action. It can be used in pregnant sows or piglets, or in combination, to ensure optimal growth and performance and to develop appropriate immune activity in young animals, especially during weaning. Piglets that are carefully bred at weaning will result in a reduction in the number of days required to obtain slaughter weight, thereby increasing production economy.

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