R. Bras. Zootec.. 20/Nov/2018;47:e20170081.
Creep feeding improves growth performance of suckling piglets
The present study evaluated the optimal duration of creep feeding that improves the growth performance and fecal score of piglets and the performance and estrus interval of sows. Sixteen sows (Yorkshire × Landrace) and their litters were used in this 24-day trial. Dietary treatments were: Treatment 1, in which creep feed was not provided; treatment 2, in which creep feed was provided at the 7th day of life (day 7 to weaning); treatment 3, in which creep feed was provided at the 14th day of life (day 14 to weaning); and treatment 4, in which creep feed was provided at the 21st day of life (day 21 to weaning). There was no difference in body weight or loss, backfat thickness or loss, or estrus interval among treatments in the sows. Piglets in treatment 2 had higher body weight (BW) than pigs of treatments 1, 3, and 4. In addition, piglets in treatment 3 had higher BW than those of treatments 1 and 4. From birth to weaning, piglets of treatments 2 and 3 had higher average daily gain than those of treatments 1 and 4. There was no difference in fecal score of piglets among treatments. Piglets fed creep feed initiated from the first week have higher BW and average daily gain at weaning compared with those initiated from the second and third weeks, indicating that a longer duration of creep feeding improves the growth performance of piglets.