Effect of Feeding a Milk Replacer to Early-Weaned Pigs on Growth, Body Composition, and Small Intestinal Morphology, Compared with Suckled Littermates

Ruurd T. Zijlstra, Kwang Youn Whang, Robert A. Easter, Jack Odle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

110 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2948-2959
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume74
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Dec
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Body Composition
  • Insulin
  • Milk Replacer
  • Pigs
  • Small Intestine
  • Weaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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