How should we feed the pigs when they arrive at weaning?

How should we feed the pigs when they arrive at weaning?

16th May 2023 - News

The weaning phase is key on a farm, among other reasons, because the piglet must adapt to a new diet, environment and companions. The final economic results of the farm will depend on the good management of this phase.

Some of the aspects that we must take into account during this phase are:

  • Set a weaning age.
  • Calculate animal flows for all-in/all-out.
  • Adequate facilities.
  • Clean and disinfect the rooms before the new entry of animals.
  • Strict biosecurity measures.
  • Schedule vaccinations and medications as needed.

In addition to these points, food is one of the most prominent headaches for the farmer during this phase, and success or failure will depend to a large extent on it.

From a nutritional point of view, the weaning phase significantly affects the piglet, basically because it goes from feeding mainly milk to solid food (in some cases, the first few days in the form of porridge). The change in food causes changes in digestive enzymes to adapt to the new food situation. Going from milk (with a high energy value due to lipids) to feed (with carbohydrates as the main energy source) is not, in many cases, an easy task. In addition, food is combined with water consumption.

In the weaning phase, the pH of the stomach goes from being low (which benefits the balance of the flora) to rising, which can cause poor digestion and therefore bacteria multiply. This can cause digestive problems that can culminate in conditions. During lactation, the piglet nurses approximately once an hour, consuming small amounts each time. Upon reaching weaning, when the liquid diet is transformed into dry food, the piglets stop eating and, after a few days, they tend to eat less often, but in larger quantities. This can affect the digestion of food and cause a large amount of it to pass undigested to the large intestine, fermenting and causing diarrhea problems.

For this reason, it is as important to choose the right diet during the weaning phase as it is to provide adequate material for feeding, since it is about the animal eating, and eating well. In this sense, Rotecna has a wide range of feeders designed with the aim that animals can access food in the easiest way.

On the other hand, in addition to the feeders, it is also essential that in this phase the drinkers are prepared for the needs of the piglets. It is important to place them at the right height so that the animals can access them without problems and, of course, that the water flow is correct and that its activation is as simple as possible so that learning is quick. Some experts recommend 1 water point for every 10 animals, with a water flow of at least 0.700 litres/min (0.300 l/min in 10kg animals, up to 1l/min in 30kg animals). If we use bowls, the water flow should be somewhat higher, and should be close to 2l/min.

Piglet weaning is a complicated process that requires careful handling and careful feeding. The piglet's digestive system needs safe, highly digestible and palatable food that provides it with the necessary nutrients for its proper development.

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