The high level zinc oxide ban (I)

John Gadd Topic: Pig Management

As we all know, the post-weaning check to growth has always been a problem…

High-level zinc oxide as a protectant for a while immediately post weaning has worked well for many years now as Table 1 shows, taken from some clients’ records. And if scouring occurs the damage is much worse. It is all about establishing gut health, which is dependent on…

1. Effective digestion and absorption of food;

2. Stable intestinal microflora;

3. Effective immune status;

4. A feeling of well-being, i.e. freedom from stress.

I‘ll deal with point 4 next time. Meanwhile, suffice to say that stress must affect appetite and digestion as we humans know from time to time. The experts tell us that a full and smoothly working digestive tract is very important to the weaned pig.

Some practical advice

The coming ban has made a re-examination of the post weaning period very important indeed and a perusal of various technical solutions is under way. Here I suggest some things the farmer rather than the scientist can do to provide viable alternatives to not being able to use the high-level zinc approach in future.

I have grown up with the post-weaning check and over the years I have been called out to over 200 cases as a management adviser. By far the most common cause and its solution was the post-weaning diet. In the early days of advice much could be done by altering the raw materials – avoiding soya, including dried skim milk and not being too enthusiastic about protein levels, among other fairly straightfoward tactics. Baby pig nutrition is now light years away from these palliatives.