The effect of alfalfa inclusion in piglet diets on growth performance and faecal consistency

Onderzoeksoutput: Hoofdstuk in Boek/Rapport/CongresprocedureC3: Congres abstractpeer review


With the decreased use of antibiotics and the ban on zinc oxide, the interest in dietary fibre to prevent or alleviate weaning problems is growing. Therefore, alfalfa may have potential to promote gut health (Guevarra et al., 2019), although it may negatively affect nitrogen retention (Brambillasca et al., 2015). In the present research, we hypothesized that dietary inclusion of 6% alfalfa would improve faecal consistency, with possibly a negative effect on performance 5 weeks post weaning. A group of 50 barrows and 84 gilts was divided over 24 pens (5 barrows or 6 gilts per pen), with 12 pens receiving control diet (C) and 12 pens a diet formulated to include 6% alfalfa pellets (A). A two phase diet was used (0–14 and 14–35 days after weaning). To obtain A diets, part of wheat and toasted soybeans from C diets were exchanged for alfalfa and soy oil. The diets had similar net energy (10.0 MJ/kg), crude protein (phase1: 180 g/kg; phase2: 185 g/kg) and amino acid levels (phase1: 11.5, phase 2: 11.8 g SID LYS/kg). Crude fibre differed 15–16 g/kg. Performance parameters were measured per phase and overall, faecal consistency scores (tagged visual analogue scale with tags at 0 (normal), 20, 40 (yoghurt like), 60, 80 and 100 (watery diarrhoea) mm) were given per pen twice a week. Data were analysed with variance analysis. In the first phase, FCR tended to be better in A than C pens (1.14 ± 0.08 vs 1.19 ± 0.06, P = 0.06), but overall there were no significant differences in daily gain (C: 397 ± 25; A: 398 ± 40 g/day) or feed conversion ratio (C: 1.35 ± 0.07; A: 1.34 ± 0.10). Faecal consistency scores were never higher than 40 in the A pens, while three C pens scored > 40 on d14 after weaning. These values did not differ significantly (P > 0.05). Overall, alfalfa seems useful in piglet diets without negative consequences.
Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
TitelScience for sustainable nutrition - Proceedings of the 15th international symposium on digestive physiology of pigs (DPP2022)
PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - jul.-2022


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