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BACKGROUND: Colonisation of the environment of nursery units by pathogenic micro-organisms is an important factor in the persistence and spread of endemic diseases in pigs and zoonotic pathogens. These pathogens are generally controlled by the use of antibiotics and disinfectants. Since an increasing resistance against these measures has been reported in recent years, methods such as competitive exclusion (CE) are promoted as promising alternatives.
RESULTS: This study showed that the infection pressure in CE units after microbial cleaning was not reduced to the same degree as in control units. Despite sufficient administration of probiotic-type spores, the analysed bacteria did not decrease in number after 3 production rounds in CE units, indicating no competitive exclusion. In addition, no differences in feed conversion were found between piglets raised in CE and control units in our study. Also, no differences in faecal consistency (indicator for enteric diseases) was noticed.
CONCLUSION: These results indicate that the CE protocol is not a valuable alternative for classical C&D.