Creep feed is given to piglets to supplement the sow's milk, but intake of typical dry creep feed is low.

December 1, 2022

2 Min Read
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National Pork Board

The weaning period is one of the most stressful periods in a piglet's life due to abrupt changes in diet and environment. To mitigate production loss, creep feed is given to piglets to supplement the sow's milk, but the intake of typical dry creep feed is low. Alternatively, liquid diets presented as a gruel may have increased positive effects post-weaning.

The objective of this study was to discern whether a gruel pre-weaning supplementation could better prepare piglets to handle increased stress encountered after weaning. 

To combat this stress, we utilized novel gruel creep feeders to supplement suckling pigs with divergent soluble (n = 6 litters) versus insoluble (n = 6) diets compared with un-supplemented controls (n = 6). Post-weaning, pigs were fed a common phase 1 diet.

Average daily gain of pigs fed soluble and insoluble creep diets were 53% and 17% greater than control pigs, respectively. Creep feed intake was higher (82%) for pigs fed the soluble diet and the accompanying weight increase was sustained post-weaning. Villus measures were prematurely altered in soluble fed pigs with decreases in villi length, crypt depth and villus area pre-weaning.  

No effects of treatment were detected for volatile fatty acid concentrations and pH in the cecum. There was an interaction between treatment and age for several pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines where soluble fed pigs had increased cytokine levels with age, whereas insoluble and control groups decreased over time.

We conclude that a soluble creep diet fed in a gruel state during the pre-weaning period has a positive impact on weaning weight that is sustained post-weaning and is accompanied by alterations in the intestinal health of young pigs.


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For all inquiries regarding this research please email Jack Odle or Tim Boston.

Source: T.E. Boston, F. Wang, X. Lin, S. Leonard, S.W. Kim, V. Fellner, J. Odle and D. McKilligan, who are solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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