There has been a huge evolution in the genetic potential of pigs. The piglet of today has a much higher potential for lean growth compared to 10 years ago. Next to this the litter sizes have increased tremendously during the last years. The drawbacks of this evolution have been documented quite well: lower birth weights, higher within-litter variation, lower colostrum and milk availability per litter.
These drawbacks mean a higher number of vulnarable piglets. Only by supporting these piglets well before and around weaning, can they achieve good growth performances, thus unlocking their genetic potential. Nuscience is specialised in producing piglet creep feed, milk replacers and prestarter diets and -concentrates that make a difference in the field.
Eating before weaning
Unlocking genetic potential of piglets is a combination of different factors, ranging from management, health care, water quality and feed quality. In this respect, a high quality prestarter is only one of the determining factors but a very important one. A high quality creep feed and prestarter influences the performances of piglets in multiple ways.
Firstly adapting the piglets to a solid feed intake before weaning, to smoothen the weaning transition. Secondly stimulating the intestinal development and enzyme production of the piglets, to improve nutrient digestion after weaning. And third, a high quality prestarter will also provide the piglets with additional energy before weaning, increasing the weaning weight. Additonally, by feeding special nutrients in the creep feed, the intestinal microbiota and immune system of the piglets can be influenced in the early stages. This will impact their post-weaning intestinal health, general health and disease resistance.
Improving lifetime performances
A small investment in these phases will result in high returns after weaning. So to improve lifetime performances of piglets, the nutrition in the early stages is the most cost-efficient option. The higher the production levels, and the more vulnarable the piglets (low weaning weight, early weaning), the bigger the influence of a good young animal nutrition. Some numbers to illustrate the importance of feed intake before weaning are given in the frame:
- Piglets eating before weaning take 3 times less time to start eating after weaning compared to non-eating littermates.
- For every 50 grams the piglet eats before weaning, villus height is increased by 10%.
- Each 100 gram higher weaning weight will be tripled at the end of the nursery phase.
Tastefull creep feed
Research has also shown that the earlier the piglets receive creep feed, the higher their feed intake before weaning. Starting to feed the piglets 4 days earlier, can result in a 25 % higher feed intake of the piglets by the age of 16 days. So it is very important to provide the piglets with a tastefull creep feed as soon as possible after the colostrum intake. For this reason Nuscience developed Babito. This feed was especially designed to meet the expectations of young piglets and increase their early feed intake. As shown in Figure 1, this early feed intake has a huge influence on post-weaning performances.
Feed intake and health
Nuscience has a long-lasting experience with creep feeds and prestarter feeds like Babito. These feeds are characterised by their exceptional taste and attractivity for piglets, increasing the feed intake of piglets to the highest level. Creating a tastefull piglet feed is something that can only be achieved by a profound selection on raw material quality and digestibility, and the experience of searching and combining synergistic raw materials and feed additives.
In addition to this the Nuscience piglet products also contain innovative feed ingredients like Aromabiotic, patented mixture of medium chain fatty acids. These medium chain fatty acids are well known to impact intestinal health and immunity of the piglets. In multiple trials the effect of this early and high feed intake and immune stimulation on post-weaning performances has been shown.
As follow-up feeds of Babito, Nuscience created the Babistar prestarters. Thanks to their similar raw material choice, taste and smell, these are the perfect match for piglets after the Babito. The different Nuscience creep feeds and prestarters like Babito and Babistar are grouped under the brand Porcito.
References available on request