Impact of different feeds on performance of weaned piglets
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To assess the influence of four different feeds on weaned piglet performance, a total of 824 piglets were allotted to four different dietary treatment groups (NS, NP, OS, and OP). Feed effects on average daily feed intake (ADFI), average daily gain (ADG), feed efficiency (FE), health (incidence of diarrhea and respiratory problems), body condition score (BCS) and mortality were determined. It was hypothesized that overall the piglets on New Feeds would perform better than piglets fed Old Feeds. The experimental groups consisted of a total 88 litters that were supplied with creep feed according to their dietary treatment group. After weaning (day 21), piglets were allotted to 44 pens with a maximum mixing of two litters per pen and taking the dietary treatment group pre-weaning into account. Climate was controlled by a computer-linked fan system that required manual setting. Compared to OS feed, the NS feed has been adjusted to form a new concept with less antibiotics, less crude protein (CP) with a better digestibility, more fermentable carbohydrates (FC), additional organic acids (OA) and improved taste. This resulted in significantly healthier piglets when fed NS feed (lower incidence of both respiratory signs and diarrhea) and NP feed thereafter (lower diarrhea scores than piglets on Old feeds). Compared to the OP feeds, the concept of the NP feed consisted of the same NS factors but with additional increased energy value and higher levels of lysine and other amino acids. This resulted in a significantly better FE for NP dietary treatment groups (P<0.011 and P<0.001). Although only significant for the trial period d14-20 (P<0.001), over the entire trial period, the ADFI of New feeds was higher compared to the Old feeds. The ADG was higher for the Old feed trial groups than for the New feed trial groups. Overall, OP feeds had the highest mean BCS and within the New feed trial groups, mean BCS for piglets on NS feed was highest. Taking the entire trial period into account, mortality rates were highest in the NS trial group and lowest in NP and OS trial groups. Results may have been influenced by the air temperature in nursery house that was an average 5°C higher than optimal temperatures related to age of the piglets. Feeding the total concepts of New Safety (NS) and New Performance (NP) diets to piglets age 14-68 days resulted in an overall better piglet performance and health than feeding Old Safety (OS) and Old Performance (OP) feeds.