Effects of pre- and postnatal exposure to garlic and aniseed flavour on pre- and postweaning feed intake in pigs

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The low nutrient intake shortly after weaning is a major cause of post-weaning problems. Feed intake after weaning is strongly related to feed intake during lactation. Feed intake during lactation, however, varies considerably between litters. We hypothesised that prenatal and postnatal exposure to certain flavours would increase the intake of feed containing the same flavours pre- and postweaning. Multiparous sows did (n = 17) or did not (n = 14) receive 50 g garlic granulate/powder and 25 g aniseed as daily additive to their diet during the last month of gestation and during lactation. From day 14 of lactation, litters were submitted to intermittent suckling: 12 h separation form the sow each day. During lactation, all litters had 40 g garlic and 20 g aniseed per kg added to their creep feed. After weaning, half of the litters had no additive in their diet. Piglets were weaned at 4 weeks (13 litters) or at 6 weeks (18 litters). At 6 weeks of lactation, litters of which the dam received the flavour in her diet, had a higher feed intake (309 ± 43 vs 233 ± 35 g/p/d) than litters of dams without the flavour, although the difference was not significant. Sow diet had no effect on postweaning feed intake, but postweaning piglet diet did. Late (week 6) weaned litters receiving the flavoured feed had a higher feed intake from 3 to 10 days after weaning (833 ± 38 vs 687 ± 58 g/p/d). Weight gain during the first 10 days after weaning was not affected by sow or pig diets. Feed intake and weight gain shortly after weaning were strongly related to feed intake during lactation (overall R = 0.64, P <0.05 and R = 0.77, P <0.05). We conclude that early experience with flavours increases later acceptance and improves adaptation to post weaning conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-287
JournalLivestock Science
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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