It Takes Guts: Peak Performance in Pigs Starts with Gut Health
It Takes Guts
If there’s one thing we know about pigs, it’s their love for food. A lot of food. We even use the terms such as “eat like a pig” or “pigging out.” Since swine are always on the lookout for their next meal, make sure the feed you’re putting in front of them will have a positive impact on their health and life-stage needs.
Today, pork producers face many challenges, with gut health being at the top of their list. Research has shown a more efficient immune system and a healthier gut can lead to increased production, performance, feed efficiency, and overall wellness. Understanding the important role gut health playst can result in happier, healthier hogs.
How to Observe a Healthy Gut
Overcoming today’s stress challenges in swine requires a healthy, stable gut environment under all conditions, during every phase of production. Healthy populations of beneficial gut bacteria help pigs resist stress and perform better. So, how can you tell if a pig’s gut is healthy? Observation is key. Here is what to look for:
- Are pigs alert, energized, and moving around?
- Are pigs eating? Is there a loss of appetite?
- Are pigs displaying normal behavior?
Indicators of poor gut health also include:
- Poor body condition
- Weight loss
If you notice any of these symptoms in your swine, chances are something is off. Be sure to constantly keep a close watch for pigs with these problems.
Promoting Gut Health in Piglets
Establishing gut health in piglets plays an important role throughout their entire life cycle, and it all starts in the pen. Make sure piglets are getting enough colostrum and milk in the early stages as this is critical for overall health and development of their gut. In pig production, weaning is an extremely stressful time. An abrupt separation of a piglet from its mom can contribute to nutritional and environmental stressors. This can then cause immune dysfunctions, leading to decreased piglet health, growth, and performance. The transition from sow’s milk to dry feed can also cause a microbial shift and affect their gut health.
During this period, the immune system of piglets will be immature and more susceptible to pathogens. In order to maintain a healthy gut in piglets, consider incorporating an immune support product that promotes the activity of beneficial bacteria in the young pig’s gastrointestinal tract. Improved gastrointestinal health translates to better-performing pigs that are more capable of reaching their genetic potential. In the end, this can lead to overall health, feed intake, and weight gain.
Promoting Gut Health in Sows
When it comes to sows, demand for increased liter size continues to grow. Because of this, sows constantly deal with the stress that comes with farrowing and successfully raising pigs. Other sources of stress include environment and disease. Although we try to minimize challenges, animals can still be affected, compromising health and performance. To combat these challenges, you should incorporate an immune support product for pigs that supports robust digestive health by balancing the immune system and gut microbiota. Supporting a sow’s immune system ultimately leads to improved litter weaning weight, number of pigs weaned, and sow health and wellness. Sow health and management are the foundation of a pig farm. Make sure the breeding cycle is planned and prioritized. In the long run, you can avoid health problems that show up along the way.
Like humans, pigs’ nutritional requirements change throughout their lifetime. With these changes also come challenges. Incorporating an immune support product, such as SynGenX® / Dia-V Nursery (depending on your region) that can meet these life stage needs by maintaining immune strength for optimal health, wellness, and performance in sows, piglets, and grower/finisher pigs. Positive gut health can have long-lasting effects on animal performance, herd health, and producer returns. By continuously changing feed to reflect their requirements, it can result in happier, healthier hogs.