To assess the effects of creep feed consumption on individual feed intake characteristics and performance of group-housed weaned pigs, 16 litters (149 piglets) were fed a commercial creep feed (3,040 kcal NE/kg, 15.2 g lysine/kg) supplemented with 1% chromic oxide. Another five litters (48 piglets) were not given access to creep feed (no-feed). Piglets were weaned at 28 d after birth. On d 18, 22, and 27 of age, fecal samples from all the piglets were taken using fecal loops. A green color of the feces indicated that the piglet had eaten creep feed. Piglets that had green-colored feces three times were considered as eaters. Piglets that never showed green-colored feces were considered as non-eaters. At weaning 22 piglets of each type (no-feed, non-eaters, and eaters) were selected based on BW, litter origin, and sex. These 66 pigs were assigned to six pens equipped with computerized feeding stations. Eaters, non-eaters, and no-feed pigs were equally divided over all six pens. After weaning a prestarter (d 0 to 13) and a starter diet (d 14 to 34) were offered for ad libitum consumption. The individual feed intake characteristics of latency time (interval between weaning and first feed intake) and initial feed intake (intake during the first 24 h following first feed intake) and performance traits were determined for all piglets. The pigs that were designated as eaters needed less time between weaning and first feed intake than the pigs that were designated as non-eaters and no-feed pigs (P = 0.04 and P = 0.06, respectively). Initial feed intake was not affected (P > 0.1) by feed intake prior to weaning. However, during d 0 to 8 the eaters had more visits per day during which feed was consumed than both the non-eaters and no-feed pigs. Averaged over the first 8 d after weaning, the ADFI and ADG of the eaters were higher than that of the non-eaters and no-feed pigs (P < 0.05). Averaged over the total 34-d period the effect of creep feed intake on postweaning ADFI was much less pronounced (P = 0.20), whereas ADG of the eaters was the highest (P < 0.05). Creep feed intake during the sucking period stimulates early postweaning feed intake as well as postweaning performance.
|Journal||Journal of Animal Science|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|