Selected Nutrition and Management Strategies in Suckling Pigs to Improve Post-Weaning Outcomes

Elisa A. Arnaud, Gillian E. Gardiner, Peadar G. Lawlor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Weaning is a critical period in a pig’s life. Piglets are confronted with abrupt changes to their physical and social environment, as well as management and nutritional changes. Weaning has always been associated with a growth check and is frequently accompanied by post-weaning diarrhoea in piglets. However, rapid increases in litter size in the last decade have increased within-litter piglet weight variation, with piglets now generally lighter at weaning, making the challenges associated with weaning even greater. Many interventions can be employed during the suckling period to ease the weaning transition for piglets. Pre-weaning strategies such as supervised farrowing (assistance with suckling and oxytocin provision), the provision of pain relief to sows around farrowing, split-suckling, early oral supplementation with glucose, bovine colostrum, faecal microbiota transplantation, feed additives and solid and liquid creep feeding (milk and liquid feed) have all been investigated. The objective of these strategies is to stimulate earlier maturation of the digestive tract, improve immunity, reduce latency to the first feed post-weaning and increase early post-weaning feed intake and growth. This review focuses in particular on: (1) pain relief provision to sows around farrowing, (2)split-suckling of piglets, (3) pre-weaning provision of supplementary milk and/or liquid feed, (4) other strategies to stimulate earlier enzyme production (e.g., enzyme supplementation), (5) other nutritional strategies to promote improved gut structure and function (e.g., L-glutamine supplementation), and (6) other strategies to modulate gut microbiota (e.g., probiotics and prebiotics). Correctly implementing these strategies can, not only increase post-weaning growth and reduce mortality, but also maximise lifetime growth in pigs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1998
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2023


  • creep feed
  • enzymes
  • L-glutamine
  • large litters
  • pain relief
  • split-suckling
  • weaning


Dive into the research topics of 'Selected Nutrition and Management Strategies in Suckling Pigs to Improve Post-Weaning Outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this