Interpretive Summary: The effects of creep feed composition and form and nursery diet complexity on small intestinal morphology and jejunal mucosa-specific enzyme activities after weaning in pigs
By: Brenda Christensen, Lee-Anne Huber
After weaning, the piglet digestive tract must adapt in order to effectively break down and absorb nutrients derived from plant-based ingredients, contributing to the postweaning growth lag. Feeding strategies applied both preweaning and postweaning with the intent to assist in intestinal adaptation have been developed; however, little work has been done examining the interaction between creep and nursery feeding strategies on intestinal histomorphology and jejunal mucosa-specific enzyme activities after weaning. In the current study, piglets that provided creep feed with higher starch content had greater jejunal mucosa maltase-specific enzyme activity and ileal absorptive capacity at weaning. However, these parameters were still negatively affected by weaning, regardless of nursery feeding strategy. Additionally, nursery diets with greater inclusion of soybean meal to replace animal protein sources (low complexity) exacerbated reductions in jejunal absorptive capacity. Conversely, by the end of the nursery period, there were no differences in intestinal histomorphology and jejunal mucosa-specific enzyme activities, regardless of creep or nursery feeding program. Therefore, exposing piglets to starch during creep feeding and reducing the inclusion of soybean meal in nursery diets improved intestinal morphology and mucosa disaccharidase activity directly following weaning, but benefits did not extend to the end of the nursery period.
Read the full article on the Journal of Animal Science.