The effects of wheat bran inclusion on piglet performance in the nursery and removal of pharmaceutical zinc

Published on: 8/22/2019
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Background and objectives

Wheat bran (WB) has been demonstrated to promote intestinal health and improve piglet performance (Molist et al. 2011 & 2012). One proposed mechanism for this effect is that WB inhibits the attachment of bacteria, specifically enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) K88, to the intestine (Gonzaláz-Ortiz et al.

2014) thereby reducing the risk of ETEC-K88 induced diarrhoea. The objective of this trial was to determine whether WB inclusion (0 vs 4%) in commercial diets could improve piglet performance and health both with and without pharmaceutical levels of zinc (150 vs 2500 ppm Zn).


Materials and Methods

This trial was conducted at the University of Leeds Research Farm. 100 mixed sex piglets (JSR 9T x GC 900) weaned at 26.5 ± 0.7 days of age (initial BW = 8.01 ± 0.65kg) were randomly allocated to one of 4 dietary treatments (6 pens/treatment, 4/5 pigs/pen) in a 2x2 factorial combination of two levels of WB (0 vs 4%) and Zinc (150 vs 2500ppm). Diets were based on typical commercial diets, containing milks, soya and fish and were iso-energetic and balanced for amino acids. Pigs were fed according to a two-phase regime; diet 1 (1-12 days; SID lys = 13.5 g/kg; NE = 10.19 MJ/kg) and diet 2 (13-20 days SID lys = 12.8 g/kg; NE =9.8 MJ/kg). Pigs were weighed individually at weaning and on days 12 and 20. Feed intake was recorded daily by pen. Pigs were scored daily for faecal consistency, health and cleanliness.



Piglets fed 2500ppm Zn had significantly better growth and feed conversion than those fed 150ppm Zn, this was driven by significant improvements from weaning to day 12 of this trial (Table 1). Addition of WB to the diet significantly improved FCR from weaning to day 12 but there were no other significant effects on performance (Table 1). There were significant interactions between Zn level and WB inclusion, with those receiving the lower level of Zn responding more positively to WB inclusion. There were no differences in faecal, health or cleanliness scores between treatments on this trial.


Conclusions and discussion

Inclusion of high levels of Zn significantly improved piglet performance. Addition of WB to the diet resulted in a significant improvement in piglet growth and FCR when included in the 150 ppm Zn diet suggesting that WB inclusion in piglet diets may be useful to maintain piglet performance in the absence of high levels of Zn.


Poster presented at the Zero Zinc Summit 2019.

Bibliographic references

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