GET THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF PROTEIN IN THE WEANING FEED
Feed costs are the most significant expenditures in your budget. The goal should always be robust piglets because they cost less to feed. If you have too many
weak born piglets, you should look into your feeding strategy for your sow.
In this post, you can read about what you need to pay particular attention to when composing the weaning feed.
If you want more practical advice for zinc-free weaning, you can download your guide for free here.
PROTEIN CONTENT OF PIGLET FEED
The weaning feed should contain highly digestible compounds, fibres and possibly some additives, helping you wean a healthier piglet. If your weaning feed has a high ABC-4-value (see section 2.6) of more than 250 MEq/kilo of feed, you need to acidify the feed to help the piglet digest the feed.
The Danish Pig Research Institute recommends that the weaning mix does not contain more than 18% crude protein to minimize the risk of weaning diarrhoea. At European Protein, we feed to develop the newborn piglet’s gut to digest the protein. Therefore, the protein levels are individual and vary from farm to farm. Some need to lower the protein content further and end up below 18% of crude protein to avoid diarrhoea.
Other pig producers can lower the protein content because the gut of the piglets utilizes protein better. Consequently, they need less protein to produce the same amount of growth. In countries outside Denmark, 16% of crude is standard.
Remember that beneficial bacteria in the gut need to be fed as well. Gut feed comes in the form of insoluble fibres. So-called ”astronaut feed” does not train the gut to digest feed, nor does it promote beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Remember the two images in ”The significance of weaning feed?”. The piglets eating ”astronaut feed” did worse than those eating fibrous feed added fermented protein.
Weaning diarrhoea typically occurs when feed is not utilized due to an undeveloped gut or poor feedstock. High-quality feedstock supports the development of a healthy gut, increases feed digestibility and improves the welfare of the piglets.
The basic rule is that feed should be adjusted according to the piglet. The stronger the piglet at weaning, the cheaper the feed. An early weaning age or weight often means more expensive feed, as the gut is immature. Early weaning increases feed costs – as does a weak-born piglet.
SOAKED FEED FOR WEAKBORNS
Increase the feed uptake for the smallest and weakest piglets with soaked feed the first days after weaning.
Give the soaked feed three times a day in a trough. All piglets should be able to eat at one time. The soaked feed consists of one part feed for two parts of water, but it depends on the composition of your feed. Think of the consistency of thin porridge when mixing.
Only mix water and feed just before feeding it to keep it fresh. Like dry feed, the piglets need to finish in half an hour.