Optimal weaning strategy
For an optimal weaning strategy, this is what we recommend:
- Piglets should continue to be fed their pre-starter feed
- Feed intake should be rapidly stimulated on day one to three after weaning, delivering nutrients and energy to the intestine. Ideally, each piglet should consume 150g of feed every day.
- To stimulate intake, piglets should be given fed 3-5 times daily with a milk soup comprising five parts water, one part milk replacer and two parts starter feed mixture. In the first days of weaning, each feeding should amount to one litre of soup for every ten piglets.
- An electrolyte solution should be used in pens where piglets have diarrhoea.
- The smallest 10% to 20% of piglets should continue to receive the pre-starter feed for longer than bigger piglets.
Restrictive feeding may reduce the incidence of post-weaning diarrhoea during the first two weeks. However, to avoid limiting the supply of nourishment and energy to the intestines, restrictive feeding is not recommended in the first three to four days post-weaning.
Where diarrhoea problems occur, one way to alleviate them is to reduce the protein in feed by between 5% and 10%. It should be noted, though, that this will reduce productivity.
A high-calcium feed also increases the risk of diarrhoea and may be reduced by 5% to 7%. This makes it necessary to reach a balance between a reduced diarrhoea risk and maximum bone mineralisation. Smaller pigs diets in particular are lower in calcium.
Gastrointestinal tract are still under development when piglets are weaned. And it is crucial to keep feed intake (constant nutrient supply) and avoid the intestine becomes empty. This is ensure proper development and height of gastrointestinal villi and then good absorption of nutrients.