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Fresh feed key to stimulating improved feed intake

A veterinarian with Demeter Veterinary Services says providing fresh feed and stimulating feed intake will help maximise the growth of nursery and finisher pigs.

10 April 2019, at 11:10am
Top producers will focus on providing fresh feed and stimulating feed intake
Top producers will focus on providing fresh feed and stimulating feed intake

"Tips from the highest performing producers on how to start nursery and finisher pigs" was discussed as part of the 2019 London Swine Conference.

The presentation was based on interviews conducted with elite-type producers, representing the top 10 percent in their benchmarking groups, to gather management tips for a good start of a new batch of nursery or finisher pigs.

Dr Sylvain Messier, a Veterinarian with Demeter Veterinary Services, says, in terms of feeding, top producers will focus on providing fresh feed and stimulating feed intake.

“They [the top producers] will make sure pigs have access to fresh feed first,” says Dr Messier in an interview with Farmscape.

“That's even more important while the pigs are younger because there's a lot of milk by-products in the first phase of feed and all of those products will lose freshness very quickly, so that's one thing.

“Even as the pigs get older fresh feed is a stimulation for the pigs. It creates more appetite in those pigs.

“They [top producers] will also make sure that they stimulate feed intake as much as possible by starting the pigs with multiple meals for the first few days in a room, especially in a nursery but even in a finisher.

“Make sure there's not too much feed in a feeder but just enough for a few hours and have fresh feed coming to stimulate pigs to eat.

“Then they [top producers] will look at individual pigs and, if any pigs have an empty stomach, they will put those pigs aside and put them in a less competitive area and stimulate them with individual feeding.”

Dr Messier says it's also important to ensure there's enough feeder space to allow all of the pigs to eat together at the same time.

He says otherwise the weakest pigs will stay behind and will not return when the other pigs are finished eating.

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