Flavourings in animal feed: Improve palatability in Pig Production
FLAVOURINGS IMPROVE FEED PALATABILITY
Intensive pig production demands high performance standards, and pigs need to be fed a balanced diet that meets their high nutritional requirements. However, achieving good productive results also depends on feed intake, because pigs need to eat the proper amount of these diets.
There are two major factors that affect feed intake in pigs: energy density and palatability. Thus, diets need to be well-balanced and palatable to achieve high feed intakes. In the case of pigs, palatability is mainly influenced by smell and taste because they have approximately 19,000 taste buds, while humans have 9,000. This shows that it is likely that pigs are more sensitive to taste than us.
FLAVOURINGS IMPROVE FEED PALATABILITY
Lower feed intake may lead to nutrient deficiencies that have a negative impact on growth, the development of the organism and reproductive processes. Ensuring good levels of feed intake is essential to achieve good performance results, particularly in early ages and periods with higher nutrient requirements.
Feed intake can be enhanced by adding flavourings to the diets. They improve the smell and taste of the diets to increase feed acceptance and mask unpleasant ingredients. The importance of these additives is clear when analyzing their market, which has been growing steadily in the last years and is worth 16.4 billion USD in 2020. North America is a major consumer of feed additives and probably the second largest market for feed flavourings.
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT STAGES IN PIG PRODUCTION TO USE FLAVOURINGS?
Flavourings are especially important in stages where pigs have decreased appetite, such as the first days after weaning. The enhancement of taste and smell by flavourings help to improve feed palatability and, consequently, feed intake.
Early weaning is common nowadays to reduce the duration of lactation. This way, sows are ready to start a new reproductive cycle much sooner. However, this practice may lead to digestive disorders and growth retardation in piglets due to the difficulties they have in getting used to solid diets at early ages.
Flavourings added to post-weaning diets increase feed intake in piglets and lead to a faster adaptation of the digestive system to solid diets. This reduces the prevalence of diarrhea and improves performance parameters. In creep feed and milk replacers, flavourings stimulate piglets to learn to eat solid food earlier, making the transition less stressful.
In lactation, sows sometimes consume less feed than the necessary to fulfill their increasing demands, especially when they have large litters. If the sow loses too much body condition, it will take more time to start a new reproductive cycle. Therefore, flavouring additives should be added to lactation diets to increase palatability and avoid the loss of body weight, which will have a positive impact on reproductive performance.
ALQUERFLAV PIGLETS AND ALQUERFLAV SOWS, ESPECIALLY DESIGNED TO FIT PIGS’ PREFERENCES
Pigs prefer to smell and taste the flavours that naturally occur in the wild. Flavourings designed by Biovet S.A. are based on truffle and other natural flavours, developed according to pig’s natural instincts.
A trial conducted with male weaned piglets from 21 to 49 days of age showed that, with Alquerflav, feed intake was increased by 112 g/day compared to a control group. This increment was correlated with higher weights at the end of the trial for pigs with Alquerflav (an average of +2.74 kg/pig).
Biovet S.A. also designed a solution that combines these flavourings with plant-based active molecules (pronutrients) that stimulate the development of the gut in weaning piglets. These pronutrients target the enterocytes and stimulate the expression of certain genes related to specific activities of these cells. With this combination, piglets get adapted to solid diets much faster, show less prevalence of digestive disorders and achieve better growth and feed conversion rates.
Flavourings are essential additives for pig diets, especially at weaning and lactation, to enhance feed intake and achieve good performance results. Biovet S.A. designed novel feed flavourings inspired in the natural flavours that pigs like. These additives effectively stimulate feed intake, which, in turn, improves growth in weaned piglets and avoid the loss of sow body condition during lactation.
MV. Júlia Pié Orpí
Veterinary Technical support to the area of Latin America at Biovet S.A. Laboratories Official Veterinary Services (SVO) in poultry slaughterhouse