Effect of weaning age and postweaning feeding programme on the growth performance of pigs to 10 weeks of age

L. M.C. Leliveld, A. V. Riemensperger, G. E. Gardiner, J. V. O'Doherty, P. B. Lynch, P. G. Lawlor

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18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study aimed to determine the effects of weaning age and postweaning feeding programme on pig performance and health. In experiment 1, 96 same gender pairs of pigs weaned at 3, 4 and 5 weeks of age were used in a 3 (weaning age)×4 (dietary programme) factorial design experiment. Pigs received different amounts of a phase 1 diet (16.2. MJ/kg digestible energy (DE) and 16.2. g/kg lysine) and phase 2 diet (15.3. MJ/kg DE and 15.0. g/kg lysine): (A) very low (VL, 1. kg phase 1 and 3. kg phase 2 diet per pig); (B) low (L, 2. kg phase 1 and 6. kg phase 2 diet per pig); (C) medium (M, 3. kg phase 1 and 9. kg phase 2 diet per pig) or (D) high (H, 4. kg phase 1 and 12. kg phase 2 diet per pig), followed by a cereal based phase 3 diet (15.0. MJ/kg DE and 13.8. g/kg lysine) to 10 weeks of age. In experiment 2, faecal samples from 60 pigs weaned at 3, 4 and 5 weeks of age were collected at 10 days postweaning and analysed for Escherichia coli and lactic acid bacteria counts. In experiment 1, there were no interaction effects of age×dietary programme on growth performance. Dietary programme did not affect growth performance from weaning to 10 weeks of age. From weaning to 10 weeks of age, increasing weaning age increased average daily gain (ADG; 363, 402, and 476. g for 3, 4 and 5 weeks respectively; s.e. 17.6; P<0.001), average daily feed intake (ADFI; 560, 620, and 680. g; s.e. 26.1; P<0.001), and improved feed conversion ratio (FCR; 1.57, 1.55, and 1.43; s.e. 0.045; P<0.05). However, weaning age had no effect (P>0.05) on pig weight at 10 weeks of age. In experiment 2, 3 week weaned pigs had higher faecal counts of E. coli (P<0.05) than 4 week weaned pigs and higher faecal counts of lactic acid bacteria (P>0.01) than 5 week weaned pigs at 10 days postweaning. In conclusion, feeding higher amounts of phases 1 and 2 diets did not affect performance at any of the weaning ages tested. Increasing weaning age increased growth performance between weaning and 10 weeks of age, but had no effect on the resulting body weight. Pigs weaned at 3 weeks of age had increased counts of selected faecal bacteria compared to those weaned later.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-233
Number of pages9
JournalLivestock Science
Volume157
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

Keywords

  • Health
  • Pig
  • Postweaning performance
  • Starter diet
  • Weaning age

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