Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Prevention of oedema disease in piglets using a high fibre diet

In a pig herd with a high prevalence of oedema disease, the preventive effect of a pelleted diet with a crude fibre content of 10 % which contained beet pulp, apple pomace and carob beans was tested in weaned piglets with a weaning weight of 11 kg. The 80 weaned piglets of the diet group received a pelleted standard diet (3.5 % crude fibre) during the first week plus a total of 2.5 l of cows’ milk per animal during the first three days, then the high fibre diet for two weeks and again the standard diet for the remaining two weeks of the trial. The 80 control animals received the standard diet during the whole feeding trial period. The feeds contained neither growth promoters nor drugs. Dry feeds were fed ad libitum. Average daily weight gain of the piglets of the diet group and of the control group respectively was 223 and 176 g in the 1 st week (p<0.01), 173 and 295 g in the 2nd and 3rd week (p<0.01) and 340 and 381 g during the whole experimental period (p=0.03). Mortality, due to oedema disease, was lower in the diet group than in the control group (8 of 80 animals vs. 16 of 80onimals, p=0.05). Thus the feeding strategy used in the diet group reduced the mortality without severely affecting animal performance.

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