30 August 2002

Let piglets

adjust diet

WEANING pigs straight from sows milk to a dry feed is not a natural process and results in gut damage and reduced growth, says Michael Mattmuller of G E Baker (UK).

"Sows milk is 20% dry matter, but most dry feeds are 85% dry matter, so switching directly from one to another does not allow the piglet to adapt. In nature weaning is a gradual process taking up to 17 weeks."

Transition feeding allows the piglet to adjust to dry feed by offering them a wet feed with the consistency of porridge for 14 days post-weaning. This wet feed also boosted performance, with feed conversion rates approaching 1:1, said Mr Mattmuller.

"Dry feeds damage piglet guts by wearing down the gut surface, reducing the surface area available to absorb nutrients and piglet performance."