Effect of postweaning feed intake on performance, intestinal morphology, and the probability of diarrhoea in piglets

M. N. Engelsmann, T. S. Nielsen, M. S. Hedemann, U. Krogh, J. V. Nørgaard*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Changes in gastrointestinal architecture, high incidence of diarrhoea, and low feed intake (FI) are commonly observed around weaning of pigs, but the relationship between postweaning FI and diarrhoea is unclear. This study aimed to determine the effect of low or high FI during the first days after weaning on growth performance, diarrhoea probability, intestinal permeability, and morphology in pigs until postweaning day (PWD) 28. A total of 120 pigs (7.20 ± 0.26 kg) weaned at 28 days of age (PWD 0) were randomly allocated to five diets and housed individually until PWD 28. Two diets differed in CP and three diets differed in threonine and tryptophan levels. At PWD 4, pigs with the 25% lowest accumulated FI (LOW; n = 30) and 25% highest accumulated FI (HIGH; n = 30) were selected for the study. Faecal consistency was evaluated daily using a 4-scale visual scoring system. Blood was collected at PWD 4, 14, 21 and 28, and small intestinal and colonic tissue was obtained at slaughter on PWD 28. Until PWD 4, LOW pigs consumed approximately 20% (35.7 ± 5.9 g/day) of the FI of HIGH pigs (181 ± 5.75 g/day; P < 0.05) and their average daily gain (ADG) was −103 ± 15.1 g/day. At PWD 28, average daily feed intake, ADG, and feed conversion ratio were still negatively affected by the FI level (P < 0.05) and pigs in the LOW group were on average 4.4 kg lighter than HIGH pigs. Pigs in the HIGH group showed a 55% higher probability of diarrhoea compared with LOW pigs during PWD 0–28. The number of antibiotic treatment days against diarrhoea was 2.38 days higher for HIGH compared with LOW pigs (P = 0.04). The intestinal permeability markers diamine oxidase and D-lactate in plasma were unaffected by the level of FI (P > 0.10). The systemic inflammatory markers haptoglobin and C-reactive protein were higher for HIGH pigs at PWD 4 (P = 0.005), but not affected in the following periods (P > 0.10). Pigs in the HIGH group had an increased area of acidic mucin-producing cells in the small intestine compared with LOW pigs (P < 0.05), but other intestinal morphology measurements at PWD 28 were unaffected by the level of FI. In conclusion, high FI just after weaning was associated with higher growth performance but also higher probability of diarrhoea and more frequent use of antibiotics until PWD 28.

StatusUdgivet - aug. 2023


Dyk ned i forskningsemnerne om 'Effect of postweaning feed intake on performance, intestinal morphology, and the probability of diarrhoea in piglets'. Sammen danner de et unikt fingeraftryk.