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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Research Project #445692

Research Project: Evaluating the effects of water delivered L-glutamine on mitigating stress and improving productivity in weaned pigs

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Project Number: 5020-32000-014-012-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 1, 2024
End Date: Jun 30, 2024

The project objective is to evaluate the use of water delivered L-glutamine on improving behavioral and physiological indicators of animal welfare in newly weaned and transported pigs.

Previous research by our group has determined that replacing commonly used prophylactic antibiotics with L-glutamine in swine diets results in similar improvements in growth performance, gastrointestinal health, and behavioral and physiological indicators of pig welfare. However, a drawback to this approach is that newly weaned and transported pigs often do not consume sufficient quantities of feed, and subsequently L-glutamine, in the first 1 to 5 days post-weaning and transport to meet their requirements. As such, identifying new strategies to increase consumption of L-glutamine immediately following this practice may be of benefit to further enhancing pig health, productivity, and welfare after common production stressors. Therefore, in partnership with applied swine nutritionists employed by the Cooperator, ARS scientists will evaluate the use of water delivered L-glutamine on indicators of swine health (i.e., gastrointestinal permeability, inflammation, and immune biomarkers), performance (growth rate, feed intake, feed efficiency), and welfare (i.e., behavior, salivary cortisol) in newly weaned pigs transported to ARS space. Because newly weaned and transported pigs will consume sufficient quantities of water immediately upon placement into their pens, it expected that this new delivery system will significantly enhance recovery from this potentially stressful process.