Young pig feed intake and growth during the first week after weaning should be of the utmost concern. Why? A study by Tokach2 has shown the relationship between live-weight gain during the first week after weaning and its impact on the number of days to market. 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.
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 that was conducted at Longview Animal Nutrition Center, Mo., which shows the advantage of feeding Gel (3 days pre-weaning) in the farrowing crate and then also, in the nursery.
Ten litters were randomly selected in the farrowing unit and received UltraCare gel. Gel feed was weighed (small amounts were added as needed) and offered in round creep feeders, or on a mat, in each farrowing crate for 3 days prior to weaning. At weaning, 1/3 of each litter received UltraCare 200 feed for 7 days. Another 1/3 of each litter received UltraCare 200 feed for 7 days and additionally, they received UltraCare Gel in round pan-type creep feeders; on day 4, half a pound of UltraCare 200 feed per pound of gel was added into the creep feeders. On days 5, 6, and 7, one pound of UltraCare 200 feed per pound of gel was added.
During the nursery period, pigs were housed in conventional nursery facility in pens with a nipple drinker, four-hole feeder, and plastic flooring. Pigs had ad libitum access to feed and water. The nursery was maintained at 85° F during the first week of the trial, and thereafter, decreased 3° F per week. Feed consumption, gel consumption, and individual pig body weights were recorded daily from day 0 through 7. In addition, feed intake and individual pig weight were recorded at day 14, 28, and 39 of the experiment. This trial was conducted during the months of May-June.
Gel consumption was 1.7 pound (as is) per litter per day in the farrowing crate. During day 0 to 3 post-weaning, pigs receiving the gel pre- and post-weaning had greater (P < 0.05) average daily gain (ADG) than those not receiving the gel in the nursery. Similarly, during day 0 to 7 post-weaning, pigs receiving the gel in the farrowing crate and in the nursery had greater (P < 0.05) ADG than those receiving the gel only in the farrowing crate.
Pigs receiving the gel in the nursery had greater (P < 0.01) average daily feed intake (ADFI) than those not receiving the gel in the nursery during day 0 to 3 and day 0 to 7 post-weaning. In the nursery, Gel and pellets were fed in round pan-type creep feeders. Researchers noted that that feed wastage was increased using this method resulting in higher conversions than expected. However, the pigs left the nursery 0.8 pounds heavier on average than their counterparts did.
Previous data has also shown that Gel not only reduces pig weaning weight variation in smaller pigs but also shifts the nursery end weight distribution higher and tighter, leading to heavier, more uniform pigs going to the finisher.
Maintaining feed intake during transitioning environments may lead to heavier pigs leaving the nursery.
By using Gel (3 days pre-weaning) in the farrowing crate and then also in the nursery, pigs were heavier at 7 days and 39 days post-weaning than just using Gel in the farrowing crates.
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.
p.19-21 Publication Year: 1992, Editors: Goodband, B.; Tokach, M.
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