Influence of Weaning, Diet Particle Size, and Dietary Zinc Concentration on Growth and Stomach Morphology of Young Pigs

Purdue University 1997 Swine Research Report. Stomach ulceration in the pig is a serious health concern in the U.S. swine industry, and often results in pig death or poor finishing pig performance. Ulceration in the pig occurs in the upper region of the stomach near the esophageal opening. This region is not protected by the thick mucous layer which coats the remainder of the pig stomach. Fasting or major reduction in feed intake, pelleting or fine grinding of the diet, crowding, and transportation have all been implicated as factors which may contribute to ulceration in pigs. The factors which have received the most attention are pelleting and fine grinding of the diet. However, we reported in the 1996 Purdue University Swine Day proceedings that fasting appears to be the primary instigator of ulcerative tissue damage in the grow-finish pig, and that diet preparation may play a role in maintaining fasting-induced tissue damage or allowing the tissue to repair. The newly weaned pig goes through a transition from a milk based diet to dry feed, which is often in a finely ground and pelleted form. These factors may contribute to the initiation of stomach ulceration in the pig at a young age. Therefore, the objective of these experiments was to evaluate the influence of weaning, fasting, and diet composition on growth and stomach morphology of the young pig.