Weaning piglets without zinc oxide at high doses

Zinc is an essential nutrient, zinc oxide at up to 3.100 ppm is not. Replacing it with alternatives will assure better mineral absorption. Additional gut integrity and appropriate immune response can also be maintained without zinc oxide at high levels. And finally, as it is not very palatable, piglets will show a better feed intake after weaning and improved feed conversion. 

From 26 June 2022 the inclusion of high doses of Zinc in animal diets will be banned and therefore it will no longer be an available tool to support the post-weaning period of piglets. This means that from June 2022 post-weaning piglet diets will only be able to include Zinc as a feed additive (up to 150 ppm of complete feed), as Zinc is an essential trace mineral for physiological functions.

 

A holistic approach to replace Zinc Oxide

 

The mode of action of ZnO is still not fully understood but it is accepted that it has a significant impact on immunity, gut integrity, controlling undesirable bacteria (such as E. coli) and microbiome. This results in the fact that we need a holistic approach, as no single product can directly replace ZnO.

 

For this holistic approach, we need to include a number of solutions.

  • A solution to support the immune system - Aleta™. Supplementing the diet of piglets with beta-(1,3)-glucan from an algae source supports the faster maturation of the immune system key for successful weaning.
  • A solution to control harmful bacteria - Formyl™ - that take advantage of the challenges of weaning such as E.coli As a solution, we can use encapsulated sources of calcium formate and citric acid which can assist in the control of enteric gram-negative (E.coli and Salmonella) infections in pigs. 
  • A solution to support the microbiome - CLOSTAT®, we can rely on probiotics, with some having specific activity against certain microbes favoring beneficial bacteria. 
  • The intestinal integrity can be supported with butyrates - ButiPEARL™, these need to be sustainably released along the intestinal tract of pigs. Butyric acid acts as the energy source for intestinal enterocytes, improving intestinal tract integrity, tight junctions and nutrient absorption.

 

Experience from practical farming

It is possible to early wean piglets without high zinc-oxide levels. If all effects of the zinc are covered by an alternative solution. A thorough field trial proved even considerably better animal performance and welfare in the zinc oxide free groups.

Download technical trial