Functional fibres in diets in pre-weaning nutrition can positively alter gut health and the function of the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT).
The article on PigProgress.net addresses that there is a growing need to provide suckling piglets appropriate supplemental feeding. This is mainly due to larger litters, which are putting pressure on sows to produce more milk. As a result, a gap has arisen between the quantity of milk sows can produce and the amount of energy and protein piglets in large litters need.
Trouw Nutrition aims to further explore ways of optimising supplemental milk and/or feed to accelerate the development of the young GIT into a healthy and well-matured organ. Recent work at the company’s Swine Research Centre in the Netherlands has shown that selected fibres are important dietary constituents in this respect. In one study for example, wheat brean (fibre) was added to the milk supplement and dry creep feeds (replacing corn starch). The results were compared with a conventional low-fibre (control) group. All sows were managed in the same way, and weaning took place at 3.5 weeks.
Overall, the high-fibre treatment resulted in a numerical improvement in the intake of dry matter from supplemental feed (817g compared to 450g), while weaning weights were not significantly affected. The most striking differences, however, were found in the dimensions of the small and large intestines. For instance, in the high-fibre treatment, the small intestine tended to be 18% longer and the large intestine 25% heavier. Although the data on gut barrier function were not conclusive, all in all, the data are in line with a more mature gut system at weaning and it is conceivable that this will result in fewer cases of digestive upset in the post-weaning phases of production.
The full article can be read on PigProgress.net
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