Water important in weaning pigs

Water is an important nutrient in weaning piglets. Piglets have to drink 800ml per day as it improves digestibility, reduces diarrhoea and lowers down the pH in the gut.

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After weaning pigs should drink about 1 000ml water per day.

This is according to Andre van Lankveld, the technical sales manager of Swine Biomin, who made a presentation on swine gut performance at an event organised by the company in Centurion, Pretoria, recently.

He said weaning pigs was one of the most difficult periods, with the feeding programme also a challenge as more piglets are being born per sow. This results in lower birth weight, more small and less viable piglets and more piglets weaned at a younger age.

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Ideally, piglets should be weaned by 28 days when they weigh about 85kg, said Lankveld.

Good weaning diets include potato protein blood plasma, fishmeal and extruded cereals including oats and corn.

Effective liquid feed was pivotal up to five days after weaning, added Lankveld. He said liquid feed should be prepared by mixing 2l water with 1kg creep feed, and should be supplied to pigs three to five times/day.

“Stop after five days and increase dry feed thereafter. If you don’t stop, they pigs will wait for you and not eat the dry feed,” said Lankveld.

He’s against the idea of farmers dividing their pigs according to weight. “They end up fighting and don’t eat their feed, which results in diarrhoea,” he said.