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Piglet Feeding

Getting young piglets off to a good start benefits producers in the long run. Healthy piglets grow swiftly and consistently – which means that producers have to make sure that in the first crucial weeks the piglets receive the nutrition they need. New insights, ideas and developments will be highlighted in this special themed page.


Rescue decks improve piglet survival rates

Piglet litter sizes have increased noticeably in recent years but ensuring these piglets survive has presented challenges to producers. Thanks to a combination of a specialised feeding system and a carefully formulated milk replacer 1,700 extra piglets survive the critical weaning period each month.

By Pieter Wolleswinkel, Provimi, the Netherlands 

Yoghurt for stronger suckling piglets and sows

Feeding yoghurt to suckling piglets, starting the day after birth improves the piglets’ feed intake in the first weeks of life. This results in higher weaning weights and higher growth rates after weaning. Also, the sows lose less weight during lactation and gain more weight during the following gestation.

By Dr Gerhard Stalljohann and Reinhard Schulte-Sutrum, Landwirtschaftskammer NRW (Haus Düsse), Germany

Piglets overcoming post-weaning stress

Post-weaning piglet performance is largely influenced by the sow’s milk yield and the provision of a piglet diet sufficient in nutrients and natural substances with antimicrobial properties. They influence weaning weight and help piglets to smoothly get through the stressful weaning period.

By Dr Angela Riemensperger, technical manager, Biomin Holding GmbH

Optimal weaning with vegetable proteins

The demand for less antibiotics and alternatives for expensive fishmeal in piglet feed and improved animal welfare force producers to take a different approach towards piglet feeding prior and post weaning. A protein source offers a helping hand.

By Lars Sangill Andersen, feed application manager, Hamlet Protein, Denmark

Palatability improves young piglets’ feed intake

Optimising feed intake of young piglets is a real challenge and requires a lot of knowledge and expertise of dietary palatability. The taste of feed is not only determined by the nature of its ingredients, but also by its composition. All this has to be taken into account when formulating prestarter diets that improve feed intake and the zootechnical performance of young piglets.

By Dr Jan Vande Ginste, nutritionist-product developer pigs, Vitamex, Belgium

Provide sufficient water to piglets around weaning

Around weaning both suckling and weaned piglets have a high need for fresh and clean water. Its availability is appreciated by showing a better daily gain and feed intake.

By L.C.M. van Enckevort, Denkavit, the Netherlands

Best performances by focusing on healthy growth

To optimise nutrition for weaning piglets, DSM developed a modern concept which is based on ensuring growth through securing intestinal health.

By Luc Levrouw, Christophe Paulus, Matthias Wiemann, DSM Animal Nutrition & Health

Feeding live yeast when targeting more live piglets

Feeding live yeast through lactation can improve reproductive efficiency with reduced weaning to oestrus interval and reduced sow weight loss as well as improve birth weight. This article focuses on the effect of live yeast in lactation on improving weaning weight and post-weaning pig performance.

By Dr Peter Wilcock, AB Vista, Chesterfield, MO, USA

Feeding solution to reduce use of antibiotics 

One of the latest developments in reducing diarrhoea among piglets is the use of organic trace minerals. This could provide the swine industry with new tools to reduce the use of antibiotics. A reduction is important because of an increasing development of resistant bacteria, which may cause consumer health and safety issues.

By Hans Aae, head of nutrition, Vitfoss, Denmark

Porcine plasma proteins for feed intake and health

Since September 2005 porcine plasma has been re-allowed as a feed ingredient for pigs and poultry in the European Union. Coincidentally this fitted in perfectly with the ban on Antimicrobial Growth Promoters (AMGP), which was imposed on the 1st January 2006, because plasma also improves piglets’ growth performance and health without developing antibiotic resistance.

By Geert van der Velden, MSc, product manager, Sonac

Phytogenic feed additives for better pig production

Plant based mixtures, when chosen properly, have a positive effect on feed intake and consequently growth performance in weaning pigs. They contribute to nutrient digestibility resulting in fewer light weight piglets and more full-value pigs at slaughter.

By Karola Wendler and Gina Medina, Delacon, Austria

Feeding for vitality and uniformity

Maintaining vitality and uniformity in piglets is a major challenge to overcome in the quest to maximise the number of pigs reaching market weight. Piglet feeding strategies including probiotics and enzymes can help producers overcome this challenge and stay profitable.

By Gwendolyn Jones, global technical manager, Danisco Animal Nutrition, UK


Introduction to piglet nutrition: Back to the basics!

To overcome the problems associated with early weaning we should have a closer look at nutrition. There is a lot to learn but we do have to understand the basics. Growing piglets require the perfect feed but what is perfect?.

By Dr Ioannis Mavromichalis, international consulting nutritionist, Ariston Nutrition, Madrid, Spain

Feeding technology for modern piglet rearing

Housing and feed are important elements during weaning, but feeding young piglets requires specific feeding systems and management strategies. Modern feeding systems have shown to support the pig farmer to better control post weaning stress and loss in daily gain.

By Dr. Anne Elkmann and Norbert Bärlein, Big Dutchman, Germany

Pig nutrition: More than just food

The first two months of a piglet’s life is decisive for the performance during the rest of its existence. During that time it has to develop a digestive system which initially is made to digest milk to a gut that can deal with grain based nutrients. Understanding this transformation process and providing the right food supports the development of a healthy pig.

By Dr Alejandro Ramirez, DVM, MPH, Diplomate ACVPM, Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, USA 

Aspects of creep feeding not to ignore

John Gadd, in his early career as technical director of Britain’s largest pig farm, introduced creep feeding to them, but soon ran into all sorts of objections both from the owner and the farm staff. These were eventually overcome by much better performance to slaughter. Since then he has taken a detailed interest in all aspects of creep feeding when visiting expert breeders in 32 countries worldwide.

By John Gadd

Feeding hyperprolific sows to improve piglet vitality

Litter size and numbers of weaned piglets from hyperprolific sows differ a lot. A reduction in young piglet mortality requires better sow feeding and management prior as well as post-farrowing.

By Dr Nathalie Quiniou, Agro. Ing., IFIP, France