Factors Affecting Small Intestine Development in Weanling Pigs

2001 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Swine Report. The pig faces significant biological and environmental challenges after weaning. A great deal of information is available on behavior, environment, health, and nutrition of the newly weaned pig; however, newly weaned pigs still suffer a growth lag. The pigs small intestinal structure and function is altered during the days that follow weaning. As a consequence, the digestive and absorptive capacity of weanling pigs is decreased during this period and this may be partially responsible for the post weaning growth lag. Additionally, health benefits may be associated with an improved small intestinal structure and function. The goal of this article is to review some of the potential causes of changes in small intestinal structure and outline some potential nutritional modifications that have been suggested to attenuate the negative changes in small intestinal structure and function.