Feeding of milk replacer to early-weaned pigs was evaluated in two experiments. In Exp. 1, 18 litters of pigs were either weaned conventionally (d 21), split-weaned and fed milk replacer plus starter diet (d 14 and 21), or weaned and fed milk replacer plus starter diet (d 21). Split weaning combined with feeding a milk replacer increased ADG 22% from d 14 and d 28 compared to conventional weaning (P < .05). Feeding a milk replacer plus starter diet after weaning increased ADG 30% between d 21 and 28 compared to conventional weaning (P < .01). In Experiment 2, four litters of 12 pigs each were divided at d 18 into six heavy and six light pigs and randomized across sow-suckled, milk replacer, or starter diet groups. After 1 wk, pigs fed milk replacer weighed 20% more (P < .001), contained 10% more protein (P < .01) and 17% more fat (P < .05), and had 74% longer villi in the proximal small intestine (P < .001) than suckled pigs. In contrast, pigs fed starter diet weighed 19% less (P < .001), contained 20% less protein and fat (P < .001), and had 28% shorter villi in the proximal small intestine (P < .05) than suckled pigs. Therefore, milk replacer feeding the 1st wk after weaning stimulates pig development, both locally in the small intestine and on a whole-body basis, most likely by an increased energy and nutrient intake. Suckling beyond 18 d postnatally inhibits pigs to reach maximal potential weight gain. In conclusion, milk replacer feeding might be beneficial to reach maximal pig weight gain at weaning.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Journal of Animal Science|
|Publication status||Published - 1996 Dec 1|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology