Effect of creep feeding pelleted starter diet, liquid milk replacer and a liquid mixture of starter diet and milk replacer to suckling pigs on their growth and medication usage

Elisa A Arnaud, Gillian E Gardiner, Matthieu Chombart, John V O' Doherty, Torres Sweeney, Peadar G Lawlor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the effect of creep-feeding solid starter diet, liquid milk replacer, and a liquid mixture of starter diet and milk replacer to suckling pigs on their growth and medication usage up to target slaughter weight (approximately 120 kg). Ninety-one sows and their litters were randomly assigned to one of four post-farrowing treatments at day 107 of gestation; (1) no creep feed provided to weaning at day 28 of age (CONTROL; n  = 20), (2) dry pelleted starter diet provided as creep feed from day 10 of age to weaning (DPS; n  = 25), (3) liquid milk replacer provided as creep feed from day 3 of age to weaning (LMR; n  = 23), and (4) liquid milk replacer provided from days 3 to 6 of age followed by a mixture of liquid milk replacer with an increasing proportion of liquid starter diet to weaning provided as creep feed (LMR + S; n  = 23). Pig weight and dry matter disappearance (DMd) were recorded during lactation and postweaning until pigs reached target slaughter weight (approximately 120 kg). At target slaughter weight, carcass weight and quality were recorded. Medication (antibiotic and anti-inflammatory) usage per pig on a litter basis, and number of injections and clinical cases of disease per litter were recorded from birth to slaughter. At day 5 postweaning, a subset of pigs ( n  = 40) were sacrificed and intestinal samples were collected for histological analysis. Piglets supplemented with DPS had higher DMd of creep feed than those supplemented with LMR or LMR + S ( P  < 0.001). Providing LMR + S to suckling piglets reduced the coefficient of variation (CV) for within-litter piglet weaning weight ( P  < 0.01) compared to DPS and LMR, but the CV of LMR + S was similar to that of CONTROL. Providing DPS or LMR to suckling piglets increased piglet weaning weight compared to CONTROL ( P  < 0.001) but pig weight was not significantly different from CONTROL at time points thereafter. Gain to feed ratio from weaning to day 6 postweaning was less for LMR pigs compared to all other treatments ( P  < 0.001). Providing DPS or LMR + S to suckling piglets tended to increase postweaning ileal villus height ( P  = 0.07). Diarrhea incidence, as well as the number of clinical cases of disease and injections per litter and volume of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory administered per pig pre- and postweaning, were not affected by treatment ( P  > 0.05). In conclusion, supplementing suckling pigs with liquid milk replacer or dry pelleted starter diet improved growth at weaning, but the benefit did not persist to slaughter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)txae041
JournalTranslational Animal Science
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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