Young pig feed intake and growth during the first week after weaning should be of the utmost concern.

Why? The greater the pigs average daily gain during the first week after weaning, the shorter time it takes to get to market. Therefore, maximizing early feed intake leads to heavier, healthier pigs in the nursery resulting in enhanced success in the grow-out unit. (2Tokach et al., 1992)

LongviewAnimalNutritionCenter developed an award-winning gel feed, marketed as two separate products UltraCare® Gel and PuriGel®, for nursery pigs to entice them to eat day one after weaning. It is an innovative, flexible and convenient gel providing pigs essential nutrients and hydration for faster starts. Gel is typically fed for 2-4 days post-weaning at 0.2 - 1 pounds/head/day on mats, feeders or bowls. Gel is a unique concept in swine nutrition.  Its moisture content and natural intake enhancers are designed to encourage intake, prevent dehydration and improve intestinal health during times of stress such as weaning.

The following data is from a trial conducted at LongViewAnimalNutritionCenter, Gray Summit, Mo., which show the advantage of feeding Gel for the first few days in the nursery.


One hundred weanling pigs (GPK 35 female and EB boar) averaging 11.1 pound BW were used in a 42-d growth trial to evaluate the effect of feeding gel during the first week after weaning on performance of nursery pigs receiving the UltraCare® nursery feeding program. At weaning, pigs were sorted by weight, and divided into four weight groups (blocks) of twenty five pigs per weight group.  Pigs within each weight block were allotted into five equal subgroups (pens) of five pigs per pen (10 pens /Treatment).  Dietary treatments were randomly assigned to pens (subgroups) within each of the weight groups (blocks).  Two dietary treatments were evaluated during Phase 1 (d 0 to 7 post-weaning) as described in the following table:

Table 1. Treatments

Pelleted diets were fed ad libitum in the metal feeders on the pen gates. The Gel was fed in snap-in creep feeders (added to each pen) to pigs on Treatment 2 post-weaning. From d 3 to 7, a combination of gel plus dry feed was offered in creep feeders to pigs in Treatment 2.  0.1, 0.5, 1 and 1 pound of dry feed per lb of gel was added to the creep feeders on day 3, 4, 5 and 6, respectively. 

During the nursery period, pigs were housed in a conventional nursery facility in pens with a nipple drinker, four-hole feeder, and plastic flooring.  Pigs had ad libitum access to feed and water. For the first week of the trial, the nursery was maintained at 85°F and decreased 3°F per week thereafter. This trial was conducted during the months of June and July.


From d 0 to 4 and d 0 to 7 (Phase 1) post-weaning, pigs receiving the Gel had a significantly greater (P < 0.05) average daily gain of 0.2 and 0.08 pounds/day, respectively, than those not receiving Gel (Table 2). By d 4 and d 7 post-weaning, pigs receiving the Gel were 0.71 and 0.53 pounds heavier, respectively, than those not receiving Gel. This trend continued all the way through nursery ending with 0.4 pounds heavier pigs coming out of the nursery at 42 days, when they had been fed additional Gel in first few days in the nursery.

Table 2. Summary of Results

Means in the same row not followed by a common letter differ (P < 0.05) using LSD procedure.


Feeding Gel in the nursery for the first few days delivers Faster Growing Pigs by minimizing post weaning nutrition lag.

2Tokach, M. D.; Goodband, R. D.; Nelssen, J. L.; Kats, L. J. 1992. Influence of weaning weight and growth during the first week post-weaning on subsequent pig performance.
Book Title: KansasStateUniversity Swine Day 1992. Report of Progress 667
Conference Title: KansasStateUniversity Swine Day 1992. Report of Progress 667.
p.19-21 Publication Year: 1992, Editors: Goodband, B.; Tokach, M.
Publisher: Kansas State University   Kansas , USA

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Copyright © 2009 Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC.  All rights reserved. UltraCare and PuriGel are registered trademarks 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