Providing extra-large pellets to weaning positively influences the feed intake and overcomes growth check after weaning. Research of Henry van den Brand, Thomas van der Poel and Liesbeth Bolhuis shows that piglets like large pellets. In the November edition of PigProgress an article is published about their research.
From the moment piglets at weaning are separated from their mothers they have to consume solid feed. However piglets may stop eating for as long as two entire days after weaning. This can results in a number of consequences as poor growth rate, impaired intestinal functioning and behavioural problems. To ease the transition, piglets are provided with small amounts of solid feed prior to weaning. This creep feed has always consisted of very small pellets (2 mm in diameter), with the idea that the intake of small pellet is easier for small piglets. However, research of Henry van den Brand, Thomas van der Poel and Liesbeth Bolhuis showed that feeding larger pellets (> 10 mm in diameter) during lactation increased both pre and post-weaning feed intake. The reason: piglets find the larger pellets much more interesting to play and can easier handle them than small pellets. Consequently, young piglets had a higher feed intake both pre and post weaning when they were provided with larger pellets.