Effect of supplementary milk on creep feed intake, pre-weaning behaviour, gut development and lifetime performance of sow-suckled litters
Sarah Icely – Harper Adams University
Duration: April 2018 – March 2023
Sarah worked on a large American pig farm in her placement year, as part of her degree, and as a technician at Harper Adams University since graduating and completing her MRes
Project Aims and objectives:
- Characterise which piglets consume supplementary milk and creep
- Determine the effect of varying levels of consumption on piglet performance, health and physiology
- Optimise pre-weaning piglet nutrition
Potential benefits to industry:
The target benefits of this program are directed at the AHDB Pork Strategy 2 to improve UK Productivity by better management of High Prolific Lines, to improve the health and welfare of the at risk piglets in large litters and disseminate best practice through the AHDB KT system. Given the general increase in litter size experienced, we would predict a renewed interest in the use of supplementary milk systems from birth by producers.
The system allows large litters to be reared in the pen of birth through to weaning without the need for specialist fostering routines, saving time and disruption of individual piglet management. The project will provide optimal supplementary milk and creep feeding strategies to maximise numbers reared/sow/year and pre- and post-weaning performance. It will provide physiological, behavioural and commercial evidence that should guide producers towards improved economic performance and increased productivity both pre- and post-weaning.
Collection of lifetime performance data will assist producers in post-weaning management strategies, ultimately reducing the gap in rearing performance between UK and EU competitors.