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J Anim Sci. 2004 Sep;82(9):2790-7.

Effects of diet complexity and dietary lactose levels during three starter phases on postweaning pig performance.

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The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210-1095, USA.


Four experiments involving 1,005 crossbred pigs weaned at 19 +/- 2 d of age evaluated the effect of diet complexity and lactose level on starter pig performances. Experiment 1 was a randomized complete block (RCB) conducted in nine replicates with 135 pigs. A complex diet using several protein sources, a semicomplex diet with fewer protein sources, and a simple diet of corn and soybean meal comprised the three treatment groups. All diets contained 25% lactose (as-fed basis) with lysine (total) constant from d 0 to 14 (1.55%) and d 14 to 28 (1.45%), respectively. Gain, feed intake, and feed efficiency (P < 0.05) improved as diet complexity increased during both periods. In Exp. 2, 240 pigs in eight replicates in a RCB design were fed complex diets, but dietary lactose (total; as-fed basis) levels ranged from 10 to 35% in 5% increments from 0 to 14 d after weaning. From 14 to 30 d, a common 17% lactose diet was fed to evaluate the effects of early lactose level on subsequent responses. Gains (P < 0.05) increased for the 0- to 7- and 0- to 14-d periods as lactose increased to 30%. Similar gains resulted for all treatment groups from 14 to 30 d after weaning, with no evidence of compensatory responses to early lactose levels. In Exp. 3, 330 pigs were fed complex diets. From 0 to 7 d after weaning, the diets contained 25% lactose (as-fed basis), and from 7 to 21 d postweaning, the lactose levels ranged from 7 to 31% in 5% increments. Gain (P < 0.01) and feed efficiency (P < 0.05) increased from 7 to 21 d to the 17% lactose level. In Exp. 4, 300 pigs were fed 25 and 17% (as-fed basis) lactose diets from 0 to 7 and 7 to 21 d postweaning, respectively. From 21 to 35 d postweaning, lactose levels of 0 to 20% in 5% increments were added to a corn-soybean meal diet. The experiment was conducted as a RCB design in 12 replicates. Gain (P < 0.05) and feed intake (P < 0.05) increased to 10 to 15% lactose. When the data from Exp. 4 were partitioned into lighter (15.0 kg) and heavier (17.7 kg) pig weight replicates, only the lighter replicates had significant improvements in gain, feed intake, and feed efficiency (P < 0.05) in response to dietary lactose. These results demonstrated that starter pigs performed better when fed complex diets, that dietary lactose levels of 25 to 30% (to 7 kg BW) during the initial week postweaning, 15 to 20% lactose during d 7 to 21 (to 12.5 kg BW), and 10 to 15% lactose during d 21 to 35 postweaning (to 25 kg BW) resulted in maximum performance.

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