Suckling piglets submitted to creep feeding management from 5 days-old showed optimal performance and exploratory behaviour

Author: J. D. Agnol, F. Meneghetti, T. S. Gaggini, G. A. Rodrigues, J. L. Genova, P. L. O. Carvalho, S. T. Carvalho, L. B. Costa, D. Paiano, A. Saraiva, C. Eyng & N. T. E. Oliveira
Year: 2023
Issue: 3
Volume: 53
Page: 422 - 428

This study aimed to assess the effects of starting creep feeding at different ages on performance, behaviour, haematological, and biochemical parameters in piglets. A total of 138 piglets (1.34 ± 0.25 kg, n = 13 sows), weaned at 21 d-old, were assigned to treatments using a completely randomized design. The litter was divided into two groups: seven litters (n = 80 piglets) were subjected to creep feeding on the fifth day of age (creep 5) and five litters (n = 58 piglets), on the tenth day of age (creep 10). Piglets were weighed at birth, weaning, and after the first week in the nursery. Piglet behaviour was evaluated daily for 15 min until day 20. Blood was collected on day 13, at weaning, and at the end of the first week in the nursery. There was no difference in body weight in the suckling phase, but piglets fed Creep 5 showed greater body weight gain in the first nursery week. The Creep 5 group had lower feed leftovers during the five days of evaluation of feed intake. There were no differences in haematological parameters and amylase concentration; however, the piglets spent more time lying down, sucking, and massaging the udder. On day 8, the piglets in the Creep 5 group showed a higher frequency of exploratory behaviour. In conclusion, piglets fed Creep 5 had optimal performance after weaning and improved feed intake capacity by displaying more exploratory behaviour than Creep 10. Creep management did not alter haematological and biochemical parameters.

Keywords: blood parameters, body weight, creep, Feeding, litter, post-weaning
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