Sunday, November 19, 2017
Gruel feeding guidelines for underprivileged piglets.
Gruel feeding guidelines for underprivileged piglets. Gruel feeding is a management practice that targets the bottom 10 to 20 percent of small-for-age piglets in any weaning group, regardless of weaning age. A feeding method recommended for underprivileged piglets that requires attention to details but pays dividends in speeding up the growth of small-for-age weaners. Of course, the greater the weaning age, the fewer the pigs that require or rather benefit from gruel feeding. In general, research and commercial experiences have indicated that gruel feeding offers four distinct advantages when done correctly: 1)Enhances ingestion of nutrients, especially during the early days post-weaning. 2) Allows a smoother transition to dry feed, especially when the feed is pelleted. 3)Prevents damage of the gut due to soybeans or prolonged starvation. 4) Promotes hydration, an extra and very significant benefit, particularly in sick piglets. The success of gruel feeding depends on high(er) standards of hygiene. It is usually a labor-intensive task and requires staff dedicated to assisting underprivileged piglets. Below is a 10-step guideline for efficient and practical gruel feeding. 1)Use large, open bowls or lock-down circular feeders. In general, the larger plastic feeders offer the best results as they allow communal feeding. 2)Place the gruel feeder near the feeder with the dry feed, avoiding pen corners, waterers, sleeping mats and heat lamps. 3)Place a small amount of dry feed in the normal feeders from the first day, even though piglets may appear to ignore it. Use the same formula/product as that used in mixing the gruel. 4)A strong flavor with a distinct aroma in the product used in mixing the gruel and in the dry feed is believed to help piglets associate dry feed with nourishment. 5)Offer gruel at least three times per day, starting with a mix of 1/4 dry feed and 3/4 water in a large bucket for all pigs or directly in each feeder. 6)Using warm water or liquid milk replacer may also be used to create a gruel. In fact, the latter is believed to promote even higher intake, but this might not be needed if the dry feed is already high in dairy products. 7) Feed enough gruel for pigs to clean up in a single feeding episode. If gruel is left uneaten, remove it, clean the feeders and reduce allowance in the following feeding. 8) Gradually thicken the gruel to 2/3 pellets or meal and 1/3 water. This will allow piglets to turn to dry feed easier and faster. 9) Gradually reduce the number of feedings per day and discontinue by day four or five after weaning. Again, this is done to convince piglets to convert to dry feed. The exact timing should be determined by the people who actually do the feeding because they can determine when each pen no longer requires gruel to thrive. 10) Make sure pigs have access to fresh water from day one from drinkers. For underprivileged piglets, a bowl-type drinker is believed to give better results, whereas some prefer to use nipple water drinkers that allow to dribble during the first day or so.Gruel feeding guidelines for underprivileged piglets.