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Keywords

nursery pig, acidifiers, growth performance, fecal microbiota

Abstract

A total of 360 weanling pigs (200 × 400, DNA; initially 21.4 ± 0.23 lb BW) were used in a 21-d experiment with 6 pigs/pen, 10 replicate pens/treatment, and 2 separate nursery rooms, each with 30 pens. Pigs were weighed and allotted to pens based on BW in a completely randomized block design to one of six treatment diets: 1) negative control (no organic acids or antibiotics) and the control with 2) 0.25% acidifier A; 3) 0.3% acidifier B; 4) 0.5% acidifier C); 5) 50 g/ton carbadox; and 6) 400 g/ton chlortetracycline (CTC). Upon weaning, a common diet with no antibiotics or additives was fed for 21 d (Phases 1 and 2; days −21 to 0), followed by a 21-d experimental period (Phase 3; days 0 to 21) where treatment diets were fed. Pigs and feeders were individually weighed on a weekly basis to calculate ADG, ADFI, and F/G. Data were analyzed using the GLIMMIX procedure of SAS (v. 9.4, SAS Inst., Cary, NC) with pen as the experimental unit, treatment as a fixed effect, and room as a random effect. Dietary treatment had a significant impact (P < 0.05) on ADG, ADFI, and G:F each week and for the overall experimental period (days 0 to 21). Specifically, from days 0 to 7, pigs fed CTC had increased (P = 0.001) ADG compared with those fed acidifier B, acidifier C, and carbadox, whereas pigs fed the negative control and acidifier A diets were intermediate. Additionally, pigs fed the CTC diet had improved (P = 0.0002) ADFI when compared with all other treatments. From days 7 to 14 and days 14 to 21, pigs fed the carbadox diet had decreased (P < 0.0001) ADG compared with all other treatments. During the overall period (days 0 to 21), pigs fed diets containing carbadox had reduced ADG and ADFI (P < 0.0001), whereas pigs fed CTC had improved (P < 0.0001) ADG compared with all other treatments. Additionally, fecal consistency, and fecal microbial populations were analyzed on a subset of pigs (n = 5 pigs/treatment). Treatment also significantly impacted (P = 0.0005) fecal score but did not affect (P = 0.59) fecal microbial growth from days 0 to 21. In summary, CTC continues to be a valuable additive to improve performance in the nursery. Further investigation surrounding the efficacy of dietary acidifiers as antibiotic alternatives is warranted given inconclusive evidence in this study.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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