Pouring Success: Unveiling the Advantages of Liquid Application of Piglet Milk for Optimal Results at the Pig Farm

There it is, a bag of Porcolac piglet milk powder. A bag full of beautiful white, sweet-smelling, free-flowing piglet milk powder containing all the high-quality nutritional goodies for the best technical results for your piglets. Ready to be served. But how do you provide this product to your piglets?

We often get the question if simply providing the dry piglet milk powder would work the same as supplying the piglets with liquid milk made from the powder. Will you get the same outcome or is one way of providing the product giving better technical results?

To get an answer to this question, a trial was started at the Pig Farm (part of the Denkafarm Innovation Centre), where we measured the effect of applying piglet milk (PM), as dry powder versus liquid milk, on the piglets’ growth, weight, and feed intake. Feed programs per group are shown below (Table 1).

All piglets were manually fed a piglet milk semi-ad-lib from day 2 to day 13 after birth. Feeding piglet milk semi-ad-lib means that the milk is provided according to a specific daily number of applications close to/up to the quantity the piglet is expected to consume at free choice. It is not considered ad-lib, because piglets do not have free access to the milk, since the milk may not be continuously present in the feeder.

The piglets in group A were fed semi-ad-lib milk mixed at a concentration of 150 g/L and piglets in group B were given semi-ad-lib piglet milk as a dry powder. From day 13 to 27 (weaning day) both groups were only fed ad libitum the same creep feed.

Results on piglets’ growth, weight, and feed intake

The trial results showed us that providing piglet milk powder as liquid milk (group A) during the first 13 days of age resulted in a significantly higher milk intake per piglet. The piglets receiving the liquid milk consumed 94 grams more than the group piglets receiving the product in dry form (all values are expressed in grams of dry product). This is almost a 3 times higher feed intake!

Naturally, piglets from group A with a higher piglet milk intake reached a higher body weight (0.1 kg heavier) on day 13 (Table 2). Previous studies already gave us the insight that piglets with greater piglet milk consumption usually have a greater creep feed intake simultaneously. In this study, this was also seen in the results between days 13 to 27 where both groups received only a creep feed. Creep feed intake for this feed period was 121 grams higher for the piglets that received liquid milk before (Figure 1). Finally, due to both higher piglet milk and creep feed intake, piglets fed liquid milk had a higher total dry product intake over the entire pre-weaning period (days 2 to 27; 217 grams higher) and logically also had higher weight results (0.4 kg heavier; Table 2).

To reduce pre-weaning mortality, and for piglets to express their full growth potential, it is essential to promote feed intake to have a well-developed and mature digestive system at weaning. This will make the piglet better prepared for the weaning process and result in a better start for the piglet after weaning.


To come back to the question, if simply providing piglet milk dry as powder would result in the same outcome as supplying the piglet milk liquid to piglets, the answer is NO!

Providing liquid piglet milk instead of dry powder not only increases the dry matter intake of piglet milk but also the creep feed intake. This results in a higher weaning weight of piglets. Since sow’s milk is also milk in a liquid form, this could contribute to the recognition of liquid piglet milk and therefore result in a higher intake. Our recommendation to farmers would therefore also be, to provide piglet milk in liquid form during the suckling period as this will result in more robust, and better-prepared piglets with a well-developed and mature digestive system at weaning compared with supplementing dry powder of piglet milk.

Share this article
In this article
Porcolac See product
Porcolac Power
Porcolac Power See product
Porcolac Quick
Porcolac Quick See product

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive the latest updates from Nutrifeed!