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Effects of energy supplementation to neonatal (very) low birth weight piglets on mortality, weaning weight, daily weight gain and colostrum intake

Effects of energy supplementation to neonatal (very) low birth weight piglets on mortality, weaning weight, daily weight gain and colostrum intake

Livestock Science 183: 48-53

Pre-weaning piglet mortality is an important economic and welfare problem in the commercial pig industry. Energy deficit is one of the main pre-disposing risk factors for piglet mortality. Management strategies, such as energy supplementation to neonatal piglets, may reduce pre-weaning mortality. In practice, energy supplementation might be implemented in the farrowing management. Energy supplements may provide energy to neonatal piglets as well as improve their colostrum intake. Therefore, the present study investigated the effect of a commercial energy supplement (Vigorol (R)) to neonatal low birth weight piglets on mortality, weaning weight, daily weight gain as well as the effect on colostrum intake. In the treatment group, 72 very low (VLBW < 1.00 kg) and 77 low (1 kg <= LBW <= 1.20 kg) birth weight piglets out of 306 total live born piglets from 22 litters were orally supplemented at birth and 8-12 h after birth. In the control group, 81 VLBW and 74 LBW piglets out of 340 total live born piglets from 24 litters were not supplemented. Mortality till day 3 was lower (p < 0.001) and tended to be lower (p=0.07) in supplemented versus control VLBW and LBW piglets, respectively. In general, mortality till day 3 also tended to be lower (p = 0.06) in supplemented piglets. Mortality till day 7 (p < 0.001) and day 21 (p < 0.001) remained lower in supplemented VLBW piglets. No difference was observed regarding LBW and overall mortality till day 7 (p=0.64; p=0.24) and day 21 (p=0.61; p = 0.23). Weaning weights were lower (p = 0.04) in the treatment than in the control group. Daily weight gain (p=0.42), colostrum intake (p=0.56), nor colostrum yield (p=0.21) differed between the groups. Colostrum intake was numerically (p=0.53) more uniform among litter mates in the treatment versus the control group. This study demonstrated that energy supplementation to neonatal (V)LBW piglets is a way of reducing piglet mortality by providing direct energy, rather than by improving (the uniformity of) colostrum intake.

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Accession: 066309694

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DOI: 10.1016/j.livsci.2015.11.015

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