Importance of smoothening feed transitions early in life
A couple of weeks, that’s the window of opportunity we have to shape the gastrointestinal development of newborn piglets. As immunity originating from the sow, the so called passive immunity is rapidly decreasing, the piglets need to develop their immunity and gastrointestinal tract faster than ever. Colostrum, an essential part in this complex maturation process becomes more and more limiting as sow’s prolifacy continues to increase. Improving pre-weaning survivability will significantly contribute to the farmer’s income, so it is crucial that feed transitions are tuned to each other right from the start.
Smoothing transition in early life with milk replacers
Sow colostrum is limited and shortly after, sow milk will suffer the same fate. Larger, often first born piglets, will get more milk and will be able to keep their head start compared to smaller piglets. However larger piglets are more vulnerable after weaning as they lack the ability of eating creep feed mainly composed out of plant-based ingredients. The smaller piglets on the other hand will get the leftovers, less producing posterior teats of the sow, putting even more stress on their development. It is clear that dealing with this variety in a proper way of individuals is important.
The provision of adequate highly digestible and palatable creep feed has proven its benefits to prepare all piglets for weaning. Whereas solid creep feed already exists for longer time, milk replacers and yoghurt products for piglets have entered the market until many years later. These products offer piglets high amounts of dairy based ingredients in a liquid form, smoothening the interplay between sow milk and feed. Impaired feed hygiene, and the labour intensity of these applications has led to automated systems providing piglets with adequate amounts of fresh liquid milk replacer all the time. At the same time, it has set new standards to milk replacer products as its technical behavior such as solubility, stability and viscosity gained a lot of importance to reach its goals.
Stimulating digestive capacity
Feeding milk based ingredients to piglets is an effective transition strategy, however piglets need to mature their intestinal tract fast. Therefore Earlyfeed launched the START+ concept. This concept contains bio-active components mimicking molecules naturally found in sow colostrum and milk. These molecules are the first prebiotics in life and help to steer the microbiome, shape and develop the gastrointestinal tract right from the start. Leading amongst others to a better developed gut morphology and enzyme secretion. The latter will also be stimulated when an effective shift from dairy-based ingredients to plant-based ingredients is done in an early phase.
As essential it might be, vegetal proteins, in contrast to carbohydrates, can be a huge burden in a lot of cases. Stomach acidification as well as protease excretion such as trypsin and chymotrypsin combined with protein quality, influencing the activity of these proteases, interact with each other. Add to this a decreased passive immunity and healthy weaning could be far off, unless sophisticated feed transition can be assured.
Babi®mel Grow smoothens
For automated milk replacer applications the so called ‘cup systems’, Earlyfeed developed Babi®mel Grow. A specially designed complex plant-based milk replacer formulated for young piglets to ease the transition from sow milk and or a dairy-based milk replacer (Babi®mel Lac) to a weaning feed. It has a perfect pumpability and long-lasting stability in solution. Enriched with the START+ concept it gives extra support towards intestinal maturation of the smallest littermates. Highly palatable, the larger littermates will familiarize quickly with the feed. By this way the complete litter, each having their specific needs, will be optimally prepared for a healthy weaning process. Ideally Babi®mel Grow is combined with a solid creep feed from the Babi®star range, this will further smoothen the transition to weaning feed.