Skip to main content Accessibility help

Individually assessed creep food consumption by suckled piglets: influence on post-weaning food intake characteristics and indicators of gut structure and hind-gut fermentation

  • E. M. A. M. Bruininx (a1), A. B. Schellingerhout (a2), G. P. Binnendijk (a1), C. M. C. van der Peet-Schwering (a1), J. W. Schrama (a3), L. A. den Hartog (a4), H. Everts (a2) and A. C. Beynen (a2)...


Individual food intake characteristics and indicators of gut physiology of group-housed weanling pigs were measured in relation to pre-weaning consumption of creep food. Additionally, the effects of creep food consumption on pre-weaning body weight and gain were assessed. A total of 48 litters was used in two trials. From 11 days of age until weaning (day 28), all 48 litters were given a creep food (12·7 MJ net energy (NE) per kg, 15·2 g lysine per kg) supplemented with 10 g chromium III oxide per kg. Piglets showing green-coloured faeces on three sampling days were designated as good eaters, whereas piglets that never showed green faeces were labelled as non-eaters. Piglets having green faeces once or twice were designated as moderate eaters. Based on availability, body weight, litter origin, genotype and gender 29 good eaters, 32 moderate eaters and 29 non-eaters were selected in the first trial. In the second trial there were 30 good eaters, 33 moderate eaters, and 27 non-eaters. In each trial eight piglets of each creep-food eating type were immediately killed to serve as a reference group. The remaining piglets of each eating type were weaned and placed in pens equipped with computerized feeding stations so that distributions of body weight, litter origin, and gender were similar within pens. In each trial, eight pigs of each eating type were killed 5 days after weaning in order to determine villous heights and crypt depths in the proximal small intestine and volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations in the colon. While being suckled, body weight was not related to the pre-weaning consumption of creep food (P > 0·1) whereas average daily gain of the good eaters during the creep feeding period was higher (P 0·05) than that of the moderate and non-eaters. Both morphology measures and VFA concentrations on the day of weaning were unaffected (P > 0·1) by the pre-weaning food consumption. After weaning, food intake and gain of the total group of good eaters were higher (P 0·05) than that of the non-eaters, whereas villous height and villous height: crypt depth ratios did not differ (P > 0·1). Neither total VFA concentration nor the proportion of branched-chain VFA were affected by creep food consumption while being suckled. Total VFA concentration in the colon was positively associated with body-weight gain (P 0·001). This study confirms earlier findings that consumption of creep food while being suckled stimulates food intake and growth after weaning. However, the beneficial effects were not associated with a prevention of damage to morphology of the small intestine.



Hide All
Algers, B., Jensen, P. and Steinwall, L. 1990. Behaviour and weight changes at weaning and regrouping of pigs in relation to teat quality. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 26: 143155.
Aumaitre, A. 1972. Development of enzyme activity in the digestive tract of the suckling pig: nutrition significance and implications for weaning. World Review of Animal Production 8: 5468.
Barnett, K. L., Kornegay, E. T., Risley, C. R., Lindemann, M. D. and Schurig, G. G. 1989. Characterization of creep feed consumption and its subsequent effects on immune response, scouring index and performance of weanling pigs. Journal of Animal Science 67: 26982708.
Beers-Schreurs, H. M. G.van. 1996. The changes in the function of the large intestine of the weaned pig. Ph. D. thesis, Utrecht University.
Beers-Schreurs, H. M. G.van, Nabuurs, M. J. A., Vellenga, L., Wensing, Th. and Breukink, H. J. 1998. Role of the large intestine in the pathogenesis of diarrhoea in weaned pigs. Journal of Nutrition 59: 696703.
Bruininx, E. M. A. M., Binnendijk, G. P., Peet-Schwering, C. M. C. van der, Schrama, J. W., Hartog, L. A., Everts, H. den and Beynen, A. C. 2002. Effect of creep feed consumption on individual feed intake characteristics and performance of group housed weanling pigs. Journal of Animal Science 80: 14131418.
Bruininx, E. M. A.M., Peet-Schwering, C. M. C.van der, Schrama, J. W., Hartog, L. A. den, Everts, H. and Beynen, A. C. 2001a. The IVOG® feeding station: a tool for monitoring the individual feed intake of group–housed weanling pigs. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 85: 8187.
Bruininx, E. M. A. M., Peet-Schwering, C. M. C. van der, Schrama, J. W., Vereijken, P. F. G., Vesseur, P. C., Everts, H., Hartog, L. A. den and Beynen, A. C. 2001b. Individually measured feed intake characteristics and growth performance of group-housed weanling pigs: effects of sex, initial body weight, and body weight distribution within groups. Journal of Animal Science 79: 301308.
Bruininx, E. M. A.M., Swinkels, J. W. G. M., Parmentier, H. K., Jetten, C. W. J., Gentry, J. L. and Schrama, J. W. 2000. Effects of an additional iron injection on growth and humoral immunity of weanling pigs. Livestock Production Science 67: 3139.
Centraal Veevoederbureau. 2000. [Chemical composition, digestibility, and feeding value of feedstuffs. ] Veevoedertabel, Centraal Veevoederbureau, Lelystad, The Netherlands.
Cera, K. R., Mahan, D. C., Cross, R. F., Reinhart, G. A. and Whitmoyer, R. E. 1988. Effect of age, weaning and postweaning diet on small intestinal growth and jejunal morphology in young swine. Journal of Animal Science 66: 574584.
Etheridge, R. D., Seerley, R. W. and Wyatt, R. D. 1984. The effect of diet on performance, digestibility, blood composition and intestinal microflora of weaned pigs. Journal of Animal Science 58: 13961402.
Fukuyasu, T. and Oshida, T. 1986. [Use of Neosugar in piglets.] Proceedings of the third Neosugar research conference, pp. 118.
Goodlad, R. A. and Wright, N. A. 1984. The effects of starvation and refeeding on intestinal cell proliferation in the mouse. Vi rchows Archiv 45: 6373.
Hampson, D. J. 1986. Alterations in piglet small intestinal structure at weaning. Research in Veterinary Science 40: 3240.
Houdijk, J. 1998. Effects of non-digestible oligosaccharides in young pig diets. Ph. D. thesis, Wageningen Agricultural University.
Kalbfleisch, J. D. and Prentice, R. L. 1980. The statistical analysis of failure time data. John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Kelly, D., Smyth, J. A. and McCracken, K. J. 1991. Digestive development in the early-weaned pig. 1. Effect of continuous nutrient supply on the development of the digestive tract and on changes in digestive enzyme activity during the first week post-weaning. British Journal of Nutrition 65: 169180.
Makkink, C. A. 1993. Of pigs, dietary proteins, and pancreatic proteases. Ph. D. thesis, Wageningen Agricultural University.
Miller, B. G., James, P. S., Smith, M. W. and Bourne, F. J. 1986. Effect of weaning on the capacity of pig intestinal villi to digest and absorb nutrients. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 107: 579589.
Nabuurs, M. J. A. 1991. Etiologic and pathogenic studies on postweaning diarrhoea. Ph. D. thesis, Utrecht University.
Okai, D. B., Aherne, F. X. and Hardin, E. T. 1976. Effect of creep and starter composition on feed intake and performance of young pigs. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 56: 573586.
Pajor, E. A., Fraser, D. and Kramer, D. L. 1991. Consumption of solid food by suckling pigs: individual variation and relation to weight gain. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 32: 139155.
Pluske, J. R., Williams, I. H. and Aherne, F. X. 1995. Nutrition of the neonatal pig. In The neonatal pig: development and survival (ed. Varley, M. A.), pp. 187235. CAB International, Wallingford.
Pluske, J. R., Williams, I. H. and Aherne, F. X. 1996a. Maintenance of villous height and crypt depth in piglets by providing continuous nutrition after weaning. Animal Science 62: 131144.
Pluske, J. R., Williams, I. H. and Aherne, F. X. 1996b. Villous height and crypt depth in piglets in response to increases in the intake of cows’ milk after weaning. Animal Science 62: 145158.
Rasmussen, H. S., Holtug, K. and Mortensen, P. B. 1988. Degradation of amino acids to short-chain fatty acids in humans. An in vitro study. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 23: 178182.
Schutte, J. B., Jong, J. de, Weerden, E. J. van, and Tamminga, S. 1992. Nutritional implications of L-arabinose in pigs. British Journal of Nutrition 68: 195207.
Statistical Analysis Systems Institute. 1994. SAS/STAT® user’s guide, release 6.12 edition. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed