Supplemental Fermented Milk Increases Growth Performance of Early-Weaned Pigs

  • Dunshea, F.R. (Agriculture Victoria, Victorian Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • Kerton, D.J. (Agriculture Victoria, Victorian Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • Eason, P.J. (Agriculture Victoria, Victorian Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • King, R.H. (Agriculture Victoria, Victorian Institute of Animal Science)
  • Received : 1999.04.07
  • Accepted : 1999.06.21
  • Published : 2000.04.01


Early weaning is a means of breaking the disease cycle from sow to piglet as well as capitalising on the enormous growth potential of the pig. However, the transition from milk to dry diets results in a growth check. Feeding of supplemental milk, fermented to reduce pH and enterotoxigenic bactetial proliferation, may be a means of gradually weaning pigs on to solid feed. This study involved 216 pigs weaned from the sow at 12 days of age, allocated to groups of 6 males and 6 females per weaner pen and allowed ad libitum access to a pelleted diet. In addition, half the pigs were given supplemental fermented skim milk for the first 8 days after weaning. Feeding supplemental fermented milk increased feed intake (104 vs. 157 g DM/d, p=0.011), average daily gain (-3 vs. 112 g/d, p<0.001) and feed conversion efficiency (0.01 vs. 0.81, p=0.003) over the first 8 days after weaning. The improvements observed in the supplemented pigs continued to be augmented such that, by 42 days of age, the pigs that had received supplemental fermented milk were heavier (9.6 vs. 11.5 kg, p=0.003) than their unsupplemented counterparts. Feeding fermented supplemental milk to early-weaned pigs can improve growth performance in the immediate and subsequent post-weaning period.


Pig;Milk;Growth;Weaning;Liquid Feeding

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