Improving Results with Creep Feeding

01 April 2014
2 minutes

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

What won’t creep feed do?

  • 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