In the ever-evolving landscape of animal nutrition, the quest for optimal growth, health, and performance in pig farming remains a top priority. While over the years, tremendous efforts have been made to optimize piglet diets, to limit the stressors, reduce animal density, improve water supply quality, maintain optimal temperature for newborn piglets, there is one stressor that can’t be removed: weaning. Derived from various sources, MCFAs offer a range of benefits that contribute to the overall well-being and productivity of piglets and lead to improved performances even in high health farms.
Different benefits from using MCFAs have been explored over time and its overall efficacy is the result of all properties
MCFAs possess natural antimicrobial properties, specifically against pathogenic bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella. The inclusion of MCFAs in piglet diets can help reduce the risk of bacterial infections in the gastrointestinal tract, contributing to a healthier gut microbiota. Thanks to a balanced and healthy gut microbiome nutrient absorption and overall piglet well-being can be improved.
2/Enhanced Immune Function
The immune system of piglets is particularly vulnerable during the early stages of life, especially after weaning stress. MCFAs have been shown to have immunomodulatory effects, supporting the development and function of the immune system. By promoting a robust immune response, piglets are better equipped to resist common infections and diseases, leading to decreased mortality rates and improved overall health.
3/Energy Source and Thermoregulation
MCFAs serve as a readily available energy source for piglets. Unlike some long-chain fatty acids that require more complex processes for absorption and utilization, MCFAs are efficiently metabolized, providing a quick and easily accessible energy boost. Additionally, the utilization of MCFAs for energy production contributes to improved thermoregulation, helping piglets maintain optimal body temperature, especially during periods of stress or environmental challenges.
4/Improved Feed Conversion Efficiency and growth parameters
One of the key metrics in pig farming is feed conversion efficiency—the ability of an animal to convert feed into body weight gain. MCFAs, with their positive effects on nutrient absorption and metabolism, contribute to enhanced feed conversion efficiency. This not only benefits piglet growth but also optimizes resource utilization, making pig farming more economically viable.
A recent meta-analysis has been conducted with Aromabiotic at the recommended dose of 2kg/t after weaning and 1kg/t in starter feed. All farms had a very low mortality rate (around 1%) in nursery) so it was not possible to assess any potential improvement. However, other performance parameters were improved such as average daily gain (+3.1%) and FCR (-2.1%). The average FCR in that analysis was at 1.490 which is already a good performance for commercial farms.
The incorporation of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids, like Aromabiotic, a unique MCFA blend, into piglet diets while known for a long time, still provide added value through improved growth, health, and overall performance in pig farming. From enhanced digestibility and antimicrobial properties to immune system support and sustainable sourcing, the benefits of MCFAs are diverse and impactful. As the industry continues to seek innovative solutions for optimizing piglet nutrition, MCFAs stands out as a valuable tool in the pursuit of healthier, more productive swine populations.