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Piglet growth before and after weaning in relation to a qualitative estimate of solid (creep) feed intake during lactation: A pilot study*

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The experimental objectives were to verify whether a qualitative measure of creep feed consumption using a dye was related to performance, and associate this with teat order. Indigo carmine (5 g/kg) was added to a starter diet between days 12 and 31 (weaning) of lactation. On days 19, 23, 27 and 31, faeces from each piglet were assessed for colouration. Each piglet was categorized as a 'good', 'moderate' or 'small/non' eater of feed. There were no differences in pre-weaning growth rate between categories. Piglets classed as 'good' or 'moderate' eaters in lactation grew fastest (p = 0.009) in the first three days after weaning, but between days 4 and 7, the highest growth rate occurred in 'moderate' eaters. 'Small/non' eaters grew slower (p < 0.01) between weaning and 28 days after weaning. Piglets drinking milk from anterior teats were heavier at weaning (p < 0.001) and for the first 14 days after weaning (p = 0.104) compared to piglets sucking posterior teats. Data from this study demonstrated that creep feed intake of piglets could qualitatively be assessed using indigo carmine, and that this categorization was related to performance in the immediate post-weaning period.
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Keywords: Piglet; creep feed; growth rate; teat order; weaning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Australia 2: Animal Research and Development, Department of Agriculture and Food, Bentley Delivery Centre, Australia 3: Danish Pig Production, Copenhagen, Denmark 4: Wandalup Farms, Mandurah, Australia

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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