Sector Swine

Weaning: zinc out, functional feed ingredients in

In response to the escalating challenges facing the global livestock industry, prioritizing sustainability has become imperative. Addressing the critical post-weaning period in pigs, Agrimprove and Earlyfeed have pioneered a holistic approach to reduce reliance on antibiotics and zinc oxide.

Embracing FFIs for weaning success

While effective farm management and high-quality feed formulations remain paramount in tackling this challenge, practical constraints often necessitate additional measures. A strategic focus on functional feed ingredients (FFIs) is emergings as a crucial component in enhancing piglet resilience during the weaning phase.

Fortifying immune defense: A womb-to-wean approach

Recognizing the significance of piglet immune status post-weaning, Agrimprove’s approach begins even before birth. At the age of 21-26 days, piglets are not yet able to build up their immune system and withstand challenges like E.Coli. Therefore, the passive immunity received via maternal colostrum is of utmost importance.

By supplementing sow feed with C-Vita, trials have demonstrated notable enhancements in colostrum quality, with higher concentrations of immunoglobulins (Figure 1) leading to more resilient piglets. These advantages are reflected in pre-weaning mortality (Table 1), but the higher immune status also contributes to the overall post-weaning robustness.

Figure 1: Beneficial effect of C-vita on colostrum quality
Without C-VitaWith C-Vita
# Sows398423
Avg parity3.323.34
Mortality/litter (pigs)1.991.64-17%
Table 1: Beneficial effect of C-vita on performance parameters

Optimizing intestinal health: preparing for the transition

With a mere 3 to 4 weeks to ready the piglet intestine for the rigors of weaning, a focus on intestinal health becomes paramount. This is where innovative(OK?) functional feed ingredients can play their role. By adding START+ to the creep feeds and weaning diets, we offer the immature intestine a powerful prebiotic component that mimics the role of the natural prebiotic components in sow milk. Feeding START+ improves the microbiome composition, strengthens the gut barrier, and improves intestinal morphology, as can be seen in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Beneficial effect of START+ on gut health parameters

The nursery phase: a multi-faceted approach

Navigating the critical post-weaning period necessitates a multifaceted strategy. Agrimprove’s Aim For Zero 4-in-1 concept encompasses 4 key pillars, leveraging functional feed ingredients to mitigate intestinal challenges post-weaning:

  • Pathogen defense with Aromabiotic®:
    A specific combination of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (Aromabiotic®) acts as a gatekeeper of the intestine by killing incoming pathogens like E.Coli before they can cause damage and diarrhea. This antimicrobial activity is triggered by the acidic environment in the piglet’s stomach.
  • Reduced adhesion with Vitafibra®:
    In addition to Aromabiotic®, a well-defined mixture of specific fiber fraction, called Vitafibra, will further protect the intestinal tract. The fiber fraction is chosen for its ability to coagulate E.Coli, which leads to reduced adhesions to the small intestine and less disruption of the microbiota.
  • Endotoxin management:
    When killing gram-negative bacteria like E.Coli, toxic substances are set free. These substances are known as endotoxins or Lipopolysaccharides (LPS). They bind to specific receptors in the intestine (TLR-receptors) and cause local inflammation. The toxin binder solution Vitafix has the unique ability to bind to LPS and wash them out of the piglet’s intestine without triggering the inflammation cascade.
  • Intestinal barrier support with Vitanox:
    Weaning a piglet automatically leads to a nutritional shift from a milk-based diet to a cereal-based diet, which imposes an increased amount of oxidative stress on the gut. Metabolites, known as free radicals, attack the intestinal barrier and cause leakage of the intestine, which is seen in the stable as diarrhea. By scavenging these free radicals, the polyphenol mixture in Vitanox safeguards the intestinal barrier and creates a healthier intestine.

Conclusion: adaptable solutions for optimal results

As part of Agrimprove’s total approach, the integration of functional feed ingredients offers a customizable toolbox to address specific farm needs. Collaboration between Agrimprove specialists, nutritionists, veterinarians, and farm managers is encouraged to tailor strategies and achieve the shared goal of reducing antibiotic use in livestock production. This collaborative approach embodies the essence of farming innovation and drives sustainable solutions forward.

Your Earlyfeed expert
Delphine Van Zele
Product Manager Swine

This contact was suggested based on the location you are browsing from. You can of course also consult our other contacts and locations here.

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