A trial was conducted at LongView Animal Nutrition Center to determine the impact of the recently updated Purina Mills® Pig Starter Feeds on pig performance and gut bacterial populations when compared to a control. Pigs were fed the Purina Infant or equivalent control diet for 7 days, Purina Junior or equivalent control for 14 days and Purina Senior or equivalent control for 14 days. All diets were pelleted.

Pigs receiving the Purina Mills® Pig Starter Program had 3.4% faster gains and 4.2% better feed intake. They were 1.2 pounds heavier at the end of the nursery period compared to pigs receiving the Control Program (Table 1). Additionally, pigs receiving the Purina Mills® Pig Starter Program had greater percentages of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria compared to pigs fed the control program.  Bacillus populations, not normally found in the gut of pigs, were found in pigs that received both programs due to similar dietary supplementation (Table 2). 

A recent study observed that supplementing a pig with a Bacillus -based direct-fed microbial positively alters the pigs’ immune system by decreasing the production of inflammatory cytokines (communicators to immune cells) at the end of the nursery phase. This reduces inflammation1.  Furthermore, increasing Lactobacillus bacteria populations within the intestinal tract can decrease activation of the gut immune system in the young pig at weaning.  Lactobacillus favorably alters intestinal cell populations2 and down-regulates several genes within the jejunum (small intestine) regulating immuno-competence3

Immuno-competence is the “ability to produce a normal immune response.” The opposite is immuno-deficient which is “lacking immunity; susceptible to infection.” If the young pig is not immuno-competent it can not fight off a bacterial and/or viral infection. This makes pigs susceptible to disease resulting in morbidity and/or mortality. Therefore, providing the young pig with unique ingredients that support immuno-competence (such as in Purina Mills® Pig Starter Feeds) is of particular importance.

Table 1.  Performance of nursery pigs fed a Control Program versus Purina Mills® Pig Starter Program at LongViewAnimalNutritionCenter.




Control Program

Purina  Mills® Program

Overall (d 0-36)



  ADG, lb



  ADFI, lb









Pig Wt, lb






   d 5



   d 8



   d 15



   d 22



   d 36










aValues are means of 8 pens of four or five pigs each

Table 2.  Intestinal bacteria counts and percentages from nursery pigs fed the Control Program versus Purina Mills® Pig Starter Program at LongViewAnimalNutritionCenter.


Providing ingredients to support immuno-competence such as those in the Purina Mills® Pig Starter Program gets pigs off to a healthy start and ensures that performance is optimized.

Literature Cited

1.   Davis, M. E., D. C. Brown, C. V. Maxwell, T. Rehberger, and Z. B. Johnson.  2006.  immunomodulatory effects of a Bacillus-based direct-fed microbial and antibiotics on the cytokine profile of nursery pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 84 (Suppl. 2):114.

2.   Halbrook, E. A., C. V. Maxwell, D. C. Brown, M. E. Davis, and T. Rehberger.  2005. Effect of  milk supplementation with Lactobacillus brevis 1E1 on immune cell numbers in the small  intestine of piglets. J. Anim. Sci. 83(Suppl. 1):33.

3.   Brown, D. C., M. E. Davis, B. Lockhart, B. Bass, T. Rehberger, G. I. Solano-Aguilar, E. A. Jones, H. D. Dawson, and C. V. Maxwell.  2006. Effect of milk supplementation with Lactobacillus brevis 1E1 on jejunal gene expression.  FASEB 20(5):A1057.

For further information, please see your local feed sales representative at a Purina Mills Dealer.Visit us online at www.PurinaPigStarters.com or www.PurinaMills.com.

Copyright © 2009 Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC. All rights reserved. Purina Mills is a trademark of Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC. Due to factors outside of Land O’Lakes Purina Feed’s control and because of market uncertainties, individual results to be obtained, including but not limited to financial performance, profits, losses or otherwise, cannot be predicted or guaranteed by Land O’Lakes Purina Feed.