story to find out more.
Finding ways to build immunity
in young pigs is more important today because weaning age has been dramatically
reduced. Click the image for more information about it.
Nutritional Supplements Help Boost Piglet
Immunity By Marty
Clark July 8, 2005
Fish oil and other nutritional supplements added to swine diets could
help boost immunity in piglets and could replace growth-promoting antibiotics
traditionally given to the young animals, according to Agricultural Research
Service (ARS) scientists.
Many countries are phasing out antibiotics in animal feed because
antibiotics are expensive and because animals are developing resistance to
Carroll, research leader of the ARS
Research Unit, Lubbock, Texas, and his colleagues are testing spray-dried
plasma, fish oil and other nutritional supplements to find alternatives to
Antibiotics have been used to help piglets as they are weaned. Piglets
are usually weaned at 18 to 21 days, but sometimes as early as 10 days. This
can leave them vulnerable to diseases because their immune systems are not yet
fully developed. ARS researchers are investigating diets that not only help
boost the immune system, but also maintain growth rates acceptable to swine
Spray-dried plasma, a byproduct of the meat-packing industry, is often
used to enhance growth and feed efficiency. The plasma protein is fed to
piglets for the first few weeks after weaning, starting at a 5- to 7-percent
ration and reduced gradually to 2.5- to 3.5-percent as their immune systems
become more mature. According to Carroll, plasma may increase immunity in
piglets by preventing pathogens from binding to the intestines.
To enhance immunity further, a 7-percent mixture of menhaden fish oil
is incorporated into the piglet diet rations. Menhaden oil contains high levels
of omega-3 fatty acids, which help build immunity in the animals' cells,
according to Carroll.
about the research in the July 2005 issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief research agency.