Using dietary medium-chain triglycerides to improve post-weaning performance of pigs
Eighty-four weaned piglets were used to determine the effects of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT; predominately C8 to C10) and coconut oil in diet of weaner pigs on the incidence of post-weaning diarrhoea and production indices. To this effect, seven treatments were used: (i) Negative control diet (no antimicrobials), (ii) Positive control diet (antibiotic + ZnO), (iii) 0.625% MCT diet, (iv) 1.25% MCT diet, (v) 2.5% MCT diet, (vi) 5% MCT diet and (vii) a diet with coconut oil at 5%, according to a randomised complete block arrangement of treatments. There were 12 replicates per treatment. Pigs were housed individually in wire-mesh floored cages, in an environmentally controlled room and fed the experimental diets for 14 days, and then a follow-on (Phase 2) weaner diet for the following 14 days after which time the experiment ceased. Pigs had ad libitum access to feed and water. Daily weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion ratio were calculated on weekly basis. A blood sample was collected from 6 ‘focus’ pigs on days 7 and 14 of the experiment and plasma analysed for triglycerides, glycerol, NEFA and glucose levels and neutrophil and lymphocyte count, and for growth hormone activity on samples collected on day 14 only. There was a complete lack of diarrhoea in this experiment, so the proposition that MCT/coconut oil would have antibacterial effects could not be tested. Results showed that there was no difference between experimental diets on pig performance up to 4 weeks post-weaning. Blood metabolites measured were similar between pigs from different treatments except GH which was significantly higher (P=0.019) in pigs fed 1.25% MCT compared to the positive control pigs. Neutrophil counts were significantly lower in the positive control pigs than pigs fed 0.125% or 2.5% MCT, and lymphocytes count significantly higher in the positive control compared to negative control pigs or those fed 0.125% or 2.5% MCT.
|Murdoch Affiliation:||School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences|
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