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Research Shows Less Than 50 Per Cent of Piglets Consume Creep Feed

9 January 2017, at 12:00am

CANADA - It is known that providing pre-wean piglets with creep feed can ease the transition from an all milk diet, to an all solids diet. However, research has shown that less than 50 per cent of piglets actually consume creep feed when it is presented in its traditional form.

This research was done by Yolande Seddon and Denise Beaulieu, University of Saskatchewan, and Jennifer Brown, Prairie Swine Centre, to see if enrichments or a different creep feed tray could be used to increase the number of piglets consuming creep feed by taking advantage of piglets tenancy to explore.

Four groups of piglets were tested. Enrichments were presented 5 days post farrowing and creep feed was provided after 10 days.

Group one was given a traditional feeder with no enrichment, group 2 was given a traditional feeder with enrichment, group 3 was given a flat tray as a feeder with no enrichment, and group 4 was given both the flat tray feeder and enrichment.

On days 12, 19, and 25 dye was added to the creep feed. 48 hours later, anal swabs were taken to determine which piglets were eating the creep.

At weaning, litters were mixed with piglets not on test and piglets that had enrichment in farrowing were given enrichment again.

On the day of weaning, dye was again added to the feed to determine which piglets were eating. Piglet weights were taken on day 5, weaning and two days post weaning. Litters were observed for behaviour and periodic photos were taken.

Tray feeders were observed to be used more often. Frequency at the feeders increased with age. Litters provided with tray feeders and no enrichment had the most piglets eating creep. Feeder type or enrichment did not affect average daily gain.

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