In the 41st episode of the Real P3 podcast, Dr Casey Bradley speaks to Trouw Nutrition’s senior researcher, Hubèrt van Hees, who discusses the Family Feeding project, the importance of creep feeding, and getting pigs off to a better start post-weaning.
The Real P3 podcast series is an initiative where pork professionals from around the globe share their thoughts, insights and solutions to their day-to-day challenges in the pig farming and production industry.
In October 2021, Pig Progress published an article on Family Feeding, which is a research project in the Netherlands aimed to help pigs get off to a better start by helping them to eat more prior to weaning.
Van Hees is one of the authors of the project and has gained a vast amount of knowledge in the area of piglet research and nutrition in his role as a senior researcher, and also in his connection to the faculty of veterinary medicine at the University of Ghent, Belgium.
The Family Feeding concept was born from a conversation around how a farrowing system can be designed to ensure and encourage the expression of natural behaviours by the sow and her piglets. It aims to improve post-weaning performance of the piglets and to reduce the impact of weaning at an early age (in northern Europe, this typically happens at between 3 and 4 weeks).
In his conversation with Dr Bradley, he highlights the housing system designed for the project and speaks about the difference in farrowing crates. He also emphasises the importance of learning through play and exploration, and notes how the project considered not only the health, performance and welfare of the piglets, but also of the sows.
Pig Progress has published numerous episodes of the Real P3 podcast series, with the most recent being the following: