Utilization of electrolytes to encourage early feed and water consumption in newly weaned piglets

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Gigiel, Agnieszka
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Four experiments were conducted to determine a management strategy for providing effective electrolyte concentrations in the drinking water of newly weaned piglets to encourage early fluid and feed intake [weaning age=19±1 d, n=360]. In Exp. 1, electrolytes (Vetoquinol, QC, Canada) were provided at the label dose of 60 ml/L of water for 0, 6, 12, 18 or 24 h on d1-d3. In Exp. 2, electrolytes were given ad lib at 100, 75, 50, 25 or 12.5 % of the label dose on d1-d3 (72 h). In Exp. 3, electrolytes, at the label dose, or water (control) were given ad lib on d1, d1 and d2, d1-d3, or d1 and d3. In Exp. 4, based on the results of the previous experiments, the most effective combinations of "hours/concentration/days"(12 h of 25 % or 50 % on d1 or alternate days) were tested. All piglets had water ad lib from d4-d14. In Exp. 1, higher feed disappearance was observed in the 0, 6 and 12 h/d than 18 h/d and 24 h/d electrolyte groups (P<0.05). In Exp. 2, by d14 piglets in the 12.5, 50, 75, and 100 % groups experienced lower weight gain and daily FI than those in the 25 % group (P<0.05). In Exp. 3, piglets that received electrolytes on d1 only had comparable FI to those in the water group (respectively; 64.55 g/pig/day vs. 75.59 g/pig/day; SEM=8.61). Overall, evidence indicated that weanlings tended to benefit from electrolyte administration at 25 % of the label dose and durational period of ≤ 12 h/d. However, in Exp. 4 testing neither 25 % or 50 % concentration for 12 h/d result in improved daily FI despite the increased FLI in groups given electrolytes on alternate days. The results suggest that high electrolyte intake occurred at the expense of feed intake.
piglets, post-weaning, behaviour, electrolytes