Colostrum is the most important form of nutrition in the life of a piglet

Make sure all piglets receive sufficient colostrum.
The better the colostrum consumption in the first 24 hours, the higher the weaning weight.

Piglets have an extremely low level of energy at birth. It is therefore essential that they have access to the teats as soon as possible (preferably within 30 minutes) in order to consume colostrum to ensure their survival. Colostrum, the milk produced by a sow in the first 45 hours after birthing,  contains  essential  energy and antibodies required by the piglets if they are to survive the first few days. The intake of colostrum must be guaranteed within maximum 12/36 hours, as this is the period within which the piglets' intestines can absorb the antibodies in colostrum. 

A minimum consumption of 180/250 grams of colostrum/kg of birth weight is essential. In a larger litter of piglets, there is a risk of not all piglets receiving this minimum volume. The colostrum can be more effectively shared by applying split suckling. In split suckling, the piglets with a full belly are separated. This results in better distribution of the colostrum consumption within a large litter of piglets. 

Colostrum contains:

  • Antibodies to fight pathogens
  • Fat as a fuel for body temperature
  • Essential amino acids for growth
  • Anti-infection substances to combat intestinal infections
  • Hormones (insulin, cortisol, thyroxine) to promote growth and development of the intestinal wall (including its closure for the large molecules)
  • Growth factors to stimulate intestinal growth
  • Opium-type proteins (opium-type substances in milk have a calming effect; piglets become sleepy after drinking. Moreover, it has a slightly addictive effect, so the piglets will want more milk)

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