Alleviate weaning stress in piglets
The moment of weaning provokes the onset of several stress factors for piglets.
- First: the diet composition changes drastically from milk to a less digestible solid-based diet.
- Second: the piglets are moved to a new environment, this is commonly known to be a stressful event.
- Third: separating piglets from their mothers and mixing litters can induce social stress.
All these factors can have a major impact on piglet health, mainly by disturbing the microflora and limiting gut development, increasing the risk of post-weaning diarrhoea.
The modern animal production industry adds fats and oils to the feed formulation as pigs need to grow fast in a limited amount of time. Digestion of these fats and oils can be a challenge for young piglets. Several studies have shown that levels of pancreatic lipase are low in weaned piglets, limiting fat digestion. Adding nutritional emulsifiers, such as hydrolysed lecithin (lysolecithins), can improve fat emulsification, increase fat digestion and enhance nutrient absorption.
A product based on butyrate glycerides is also interesting, as these glycerides support intestinal health by stimulating intestinal integrity and balancing the microbiome. For this, two forms of butyric acid glycerides are often used in animal feed: tributyrin and α-monobutyrin. Tributyrin stimulates villi growth, gene expression of tight junctions and microbiota diversity, and reduces oxidative stress and inflammation. In contrast, α-monobutyrin is known for its direct anti-microbial effect.
Alpha-monolaurin is known to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating properties. On the one hand α-monolaurin is able to control the intestinal microbiome and the inflammatory response, on the other hand modulates α-monolaurin the immune system in terms of higher antibody titer values, making the animal less prone to specific diseases.
Innovative new product
Hence, it is all about finding the right balance of many things. FRAmelco developed FRA Digest Health, containing primarily lysolecithins, fortified with the addition of α-monobutyrin, tributyrin, and glycerides of C12. Lysolecithins improve fat digestion and nutrient absorption, whereas glycerides will make sure the intestinal tract is healthy and well-developed. Adding FRA Digest Health to weaned piglet feed resulted in a clear improvement of ADWG during the starter period and significant improvement in the grower phase and overall period.
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