Effects of Weaning Age and Creep Feed Type on Growth Performance and Gut Maturation in Weaned Piglets

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The objective was to study the effects of weaning in week 5 (W5) vs. week 4 (W4), as well as liquid (LF) vs. dry feed (DF), on growth performance, disaccharidase activity and nutrient transporter expression after weaning. The experiment included 12,923 pigs fed LF or DF in the pre-weaning period and a subpopulation of 15 pigs from each group, W4DF, W4LF, W5DF and W5LF, which were weighed and euthanized five days after weaning. The proximal part of the small intestine was analyzed for maltase, lactase and sucrase activity and the expression of SGLT-1, GLUT-2 and PepT-1. Pigs fed LF displayed less maltase activity (2100 vs. 2729 U/mg protein, p < 0.05) but an increased expression of SGLT-1 (∆Ct: 5.22 vs. 6.21, p = 0.01). Pigs weaned in W5 were heavier than those weaned in W4 (9.35 vs. 7.11 kg BW, p ≤ 0.05), and pigs fed LF were heavier than those fed DF (8.55 vs. 7.91 kg BW, p ≤ 0.05) five days after weaning in the subpopulation. LF pigs (21.8 kg) were heavier than DF pigs (20.6 kg) (SE 0.108, p < 0.0001), and W4 pigs (21.0 kg) were lighter than W5 pigs (21.5 kg) (SE 0.108, p = 0.01) at nine weeks. LF increased weight gain in the early post-weaning period and at nine weeks, although this was apparently not explained by accelerated gut maturation.

Udgave nummer11
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This experiment was financially supported by the SEGES Innovation P/S, the Pig Levy Fund and Research Director R. Nørtoft Thomsen’s Grant Promoting Danish Animal Science.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

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