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The #1 thing you can do to help your newly weaned pigs...

November, 2018

Weaning is a stressful event for young pigs, and even more so as the weather is changing. Can you blame them? Many of us probably get stressed when the weather report shows temperatures dropping into the 30s or lower. We dig out our winter coats, hats, mittens, boots, wool socks, footie pajamas…you get the picture. Typically, young pigs can overcome stress events if given time to rest and recover before another event occurs; however, during weaning, young pigs are hit with a multitude of stressors all at one time.

TechMix swine blog postSome of the events that combine for adverse outcomes include:

 • Separation from Mom
 • Comingling (aggression)
 • Transport
 • Environment change
 • Transient starvation

Combine all that with the change in weather and they are bound to need some additional support. But, before we go in to that, let’s start at the beginning. What happens to a pig when they are stressed? Proper gut function depends on a regular flow of nutrients being ingested orally. If that flow is interrupted, the gut’s villous is broken down in just a short amount of time. When this happens, the gut cannot properly absorb nutrients, which can lead to undigested nutrients entering the lower gut allowing negative micro-flora to develop. The gut will then become permeable and more susceptible to pathogens and enteric challenges. In layman’s terms, stress effects the gut and once the gut is affected, more bad bacteria and disease can enter the pig and result in things we do not want!

Weaning is stressful, we’ve covered that – but what exactly makes it so stressful? Prior to weaning, the pig receives feeding cues from mom, drinks all of its meals, and eats as part of a group. Once weaned, they receive no feeding cues, do not eat together with littermates, and have to drink AND eat to get the proper nutrients. When moving to a new area, transport of some kind is typically involved. Whether pigs are on a truck for a long period or have a short haul, they won’t eat much dry feed in the first 24 hours after weaning. Then, they are sorted in to pens based on size and health status and have to learn to live simultaneously with new pigs who may be aggressive at the feed pan or waterer, plus, in many cases, the new pen is larger and not as toasty warm as when sharing a pen with mom and siblings. And finally, the weaning event and removal from sow’s milk results in transient starvation. Pigs literally don’t know what or how to eat at this stage.

Wow – that’s a lot! So, what can we do to help – what do all of these stresses have in common? Drinking! Young pigs know how to drink, they are used to drinking from their mom and will drink immediately after weaning. Enriching the water with additional nutrients can provide a base level of nutritional value until normal dry feed consumption occurs. In the early weeks of weaning, water intake far exceeds dry feed intake. TechMix has developed a stock solution termed Nutrient Dense Liquids (NDLs) that are chalk-full of the very specific nutrients that baby pigs need. NDLs are between 60% and 65% solids and contain 3 times greater nutrient density than traditional stock solutions. By hyper-boosting the water with nutrients during the period when dry feed intake is low, inconsistent, or nonexistent, NDLs can provide a more stable level of nutrients to the intestinal villi. As a result, the chance of fall behinds goes down, with the chance of improved health, improved immune status, and reduced morbidity and mortality may occur.

Specifically, for this situation, TechMix offers Blue 2 as an NDL providing the required nutrient support in a way that optimizes both nutrient and water absorption with energy, electrolytes and acidification. As a very effective attractant, Blue 2 promotes increased weaned pig water consumption and should be used to help combat stress at weaning. Even better, Blue 2 is already the stock solution and can be delivered through the medicator making it super easy to use – how great is that!!

Blue 2 effectively delivers the right hydration and nutrition at the right time – in the most beneficial way.

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