News 2321 views last update:Feb 25, 2016

Bovine colostrum helps piglets consume creep feed

A Canadian experiment, in which bovine colostrum was added to the creep feed of piglets, has shown that it increased the number of piglets that consumed the creep feed or phase one diet immediately after weaning.

A total of 20 sows (10/week) and their litters were used for this experiment. All litters were supplied with creep feed from day 19 post-farrowing to weaning (26 ± 2 days of age). Half of the litters had supplemented bovine colostrum with their creep feed (6% of offered feed).

At weaning, piglets were moved to the nursery and randomly assigned into nursery pens, based on treatment (± colostrum) and body weight. Pigs were housed 4/pen, and there were 6 pens/treatment/room (2 rooms). The treatments were arranged as a 2 x 2 factorial (plus or minus colostrum in creep x plus or minus colostrum in phase one nursery diet). Piglet body weights were recorded one week prior to weaning, at weaning, and on days 9, 16 and 30 in the nursery.

Creep feed consumption was determined daily in farrowing rooms. Feed intake was recorded in the nursery. Creep feeding began one week prior to weaning. Creep feed was spiked with 0.5% brilliant blue for three days to detect eating behaviour; which was determined by anal swabbing 48 hours aft er the blue dye was removed. Half of the phase one diets contained colostrum and all of them were spiked with ferric oxide (red dye colour) for 24 hours post-weaning. Anal swabbing was used to determine the "eaters" of the phase one diet 36 hours postweaning.

Overall, the bovine colostrum had no beneficial effects on growth or feed intake of the piglets. However, it did increase the number of piglets that consumed the creep feed or phase one diet immediately after weaning. More research is required to determine how advantage can be taken of this to improve the growth and health of piglets.

Source: Prairie Swine Research Centre

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