The benefits of various creep feeding strategies can be evaluated in several different ways. In systems where a buy/sell arrangement involves penalties for underweight piglets at weaning the weaning weight can become a very important metric for the seller. For the purchaser, however, the predictability of optimum feed intake
at weaning can be very important. Researchers wanted to measure the effect on several parameters when different types of creep feeds were used.
A total of 24 multiparous sows and their litters were allotted to one of three treatment groups:
- provided highly digestible creep feed (Creep),
- provided a pig weaning diet (Weaner),
- provided sow feed (Sow) as creep feed until weaning.
After weaning, a total of 96 piglets were selected for evaluation of post-weaning performance.
- The piglets that were fed the Creep treatment feed had significantly higher feed intake from 14 to 28 days of age (p<0.05) and higher body weight gain from 21 to 28 days of age than piglets on the other diets.
- The piglets that were fed the Weaner treatment feed yielded a significantly higher postweaning feed intake and average daily gain than other treatments from 0 to 14 days post weaning (p<0.05);
Take Home Message
The highly digestible creep feed improved pre-weaning performance but feed familiarity and grain-based creep feed improved postweaning performance.
Q: So…….. What is the best diet to use as a creep feed?
A: It depends which outcomes you are measuring and how much you value those outcomes.