Learning piglets to eat in the farrowing pen pays off in the rearing period. Solid feed pre-weaning helps with this, a ‘practice snack’ for piglets. In this article we would like to share the best feed practices to prepare your piglets for weaning.
The moment of weaning is a stressful moment for piglets. From being with the sow and having access to sow milk, at the moment of weaning suddenly they are in a new living environment, with other ‘housemates’ and ‘where did the milk go’? This stressful moment at weaning has been shown to result in a reduced feed intake, a higher diarrhea rate, and loss of growth.
To prepare the piglets for the moment of weaning and the switch to a 100% solid feed diet, learning piglets to eat, by providing creep feed pre-weaning next to sows’ milk, has proven to be a beneficial strategy for piglet’s performance after weaning.
In a trial with 20 litters (carried out at our Pig Farm: approx. 240 piglets), a distinction was made between large eaters and less large eaters in the farrowing pen:
Creep-feed was provided from day 5 until the moment of weaning (day 26,5). The piglets had access to water. After weaning, a weaning diet followed by a rearing diet was provided to the piglets.
Several positive results can be seen from the research. We have listed the results below:
Figure 1. The effect of feed intake level before weaning on feed intake in grams from day 0 to 34 after weaning.
Figure 2. The effect of feed intake level before weaning on growth in grams from day 0 to 34 after weaning.
The investment in learning piglets to eat in the farrowing pen pays off in better growth results in the rest of the rearing period.
In the Netherlands, close to the office in Voorthuizen, the DenkaFarm Innovation Centre is located consisting of a pig farm with sows and piglets for studies aimed at pig farming.
Here Nutrifeed conducts intensive research into the opportunities offered by various raw materials, product compositions, and feed concepts and we test newly developed products and concepts before they are introduced to the market. Do you want to know what this pig farm looks like? That’s possible.
Click here to see the Pig Farm at DenkaFarm Innovation Centre on YouTube!
We are happy to help!
home • News • Best feed practices to prepare piglets for weaning