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  1. Vol. 68 No. 1, p. 155-162
     
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doi:10.2527/1990.681155x

The effects of postweaning stressors on pig weight change, blood, liver and digestive tract characteristics.

  1. D W Funderburke and
  2. R W Seerley
  1. University of Georgia, Athens.

Abstract

Postweaning growth lag in baby pigs weaned at 28 d was studied by using three weaning stress treatments. Treatments consisted of a control in which pigs continued to nurse the dam, had access to a dry feed at 14 d of age and were not weaned until after the study. Pigs were adjusted to liquid and dry feeds at 14 d of age in Treatments 2 and 3, but sows were removed from the pens at 28 d of age in Treatment 2, whereas sows were removed and room temperature lowered to 13 degrees C in Treatment 3. In Treatment 4, sows were removed but pigs were fed the dry diet only from 28 d of age. Blood and tissue were collected and evaluated every 12 h for 48 h on slaughtered pigs and blood was sampled every 12 h for 132 h from pigs catheterized in the vena cava. Pigs weaned with a dry diet in Treatment 4 were the only pigs to lose weight (P less than .01) and have typical symptoms of postweaning growth lag. These pigs had the lowest (P less than .01) mean plasma glucose, highest (P less than .01) free fatty acids and the highest (P less than .05) cortisol concentrations. Their mean duodenal pH also was higher (P less than .01), whereas pigs given both milk and dry diets and stressed by weaning in a warm or cool room (Treatments 2 and 3) had lower (P less than .01) duodenal pH values than pigs continuing to nurse the sow. In this study, pigs having access to milk and dry diets prior to weaning had no adverse symptoms when the sow was removed regardless of whether or not they were exposed to cold after weaning. However, pigs that were abruptly weaned with a dry diet had slow growth, low plasma glucose, high free fatty acids and low liver glycogen.

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