Improving Results With Creep Feeding
- In any farming enterprise, it is important to know where to put one’s focus and when, how and where to wisely invest time and money. In pig farming, one such an example is creep feeding and piglet care. The following questions and answers are of importance when making a choice on what, when and how to feed high density rations.
Why should one feed a creep ration?
- Pre-weaning growth and care is a major determinant of post weaning performance
- Increasing the nutrient availability is vital for smaller piglets that can’t compete at the udder
- Higher intake of solid food enhances intestinal function later in life, which is essential for health
- Higher intake pre-weaning gives higher intake and growth in the first week after weaning
- Total and daily feed intake of lactating sows is not affected
- Lactating sow performance is not affected
- Will not cure all bacterial infections without additional medication
What to expect from a good creep ration.
- High nutrient density
- High nutrient digestibility
- Attractive to piglets in texture, smell and taste
- Minimum feed wastage due to structure
- Attracts more “creep eaters”
How much creep can we expect to feed pre- and post-weaning?
- Intake greater than 50g per litter is attained only after day 13
- Average intake of 300 to 500g per piglet to weaning on 28 days
- Total average intake of 6.5kg from weaning to 42 days of age
What are the most critical factors when trying to wean and grow strong litters?
- Good genetics, good condition and healthy sows give good progeny
- Higher born alive weight gives a higher weaning weight
- Getting piglets dry, warm, drinking colostrum and stress-free immediately after birth
- Do not foster piglets unnecessarily
- Get all teats working after farrowing, especially with first parity sows
- Feed small quantities of fresh creep feed early and often
- Get pigs to eat solid, healthy, dense feed as soon as and as often as possible after birth because good intake gives good growth