Interpretive Summary: Variability in feed intake the first days following weaning impacts gastrointestinal tract development, feeding patterns, and growth performance in nursery pigs
By: Lluís Fabà, Tetske G Hulshof, Kelly C M Venrooij, Hubèrt M J Van Hees
Poor adaptation to solid feed after weaning is often associated with a reduced digestive function and growth in nursery pigs. The reasons driving an early acceptance of feed and its consequences are still largely unknown. We investigated the effects of high and low feed intake between d1-3 after weaning on gastrointestinal development and morphometrics 1-wk after weaning and growth performance and feeding patterns in the nursery phase. The results showed that pigs with a high initial feed intake (increased number of visits to the feeder and time spent per visit early after weaning), consumed feed faster throughout the nursery resulting in higher intakes early and late in the nursery but not for the intermediate period. Higher weaning body weight was also associated with improved feed intake and growth from d17 onwards, which was an additional but independent effect of the early feed intake effect. Besides, pigs with high feed intake between d1 and d3 after weaning had heavier empty gastrointestinal organs, improved intestinal wall morphometrics, and reduced protein fermentation in the small intestine 1-wk after weaning.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.