We have all experienced it, that uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. Perhaps you felt it just before you had to stand up in front of a large crowd to deliver an important speech, or maybe once when you were on holiday and tried a new dish. It is not a pleasant feeling and can often leave us feeling uncomfortable and deprived of our strength and energy. Would it surprise you to know that weaner pigs go through a similar experience?
The first 72 hours post-weaning can be likened to your first day at nursery school, when you were placed into unknown surroundings with a bunch of people you had never seen before. Weaners are exposed to a wide range of stressful factors such as commingling from different sow farms, coupled with the transition from a liquid diet to a solid feed diet, among other factors. All this can be physically and emotionally draining and result in depressed immune function as well as providing ideal breeding conditions for pathogenic bacteria to proliferate, which leads to enteric infections. Enteric infections in nursery pigs are as contagious as a catchy song on the radio – once you hear it, you can’t get it out of your head; or, in the case of your weaners, out of their gut. If one weaner gets infected and goes untreated, the whole house can become susceptible. This makes the weaners even more susceptible to other infections, as well as inhibiting their average daily gain (ADG). Clinical cases are often accompanied by diarrhoea and, in the case of severe infections, increased mortalities may be observed. However, all is not lost!
If you feel like your pigs’ gut is trying to tell you something, then read this article entitled, “Manage enteric infections in nursery pigs with Performance Trace Minerals®” by Dr Zachary Rambo, the global swine Research and Nutritional Services (RNS) species leader at Zinpro, as published in their newslettter, Essential Feed.