The Effect of Supplementing Dry Feed with a Nutritional Gel Product at the Time of Vaccination on Nursery Pig Maintenance Behaviors and Postures

  • Anna K. Johnson (Iowa State University)
  • Larry J. Sadler (Iowa State University)
  • Jennifer Kline (Iowa State University)
  • Rachel Witte (Iowa State University)
  • Whitney Holt (Iowa State University)
  • Kenneth J. Stalder (Iowa State University)
  • Lori Layman (Iowa State University)
  • Locke A. Karriker (Iowa State University)
  • Brenda de Rodas (Land O'Lakes Purina Feed, LLC)


Swine industry feed suppliers are continually striving to develop techniques and tools to reduce the additive stressors imposed on the weanling piglet, to increase advantageous behaviors (feeding and drinking) and to reduce aggressive interactions. One product on the market designed to ease the transition from a liquid diet (sow's milk) to a dry ration is a gel-based feed supplement that was incorporated in this trial as a means to positively affect the aforementioned parameters. The trial was conducted in the spring of 2007. A total of 64 3-week old, crossbred pigs (4.2 kg) were received from a commercial farm and housed in Double L ® confinement nursery buildings. Four treatments were compared. Control groups (n = 4) were defined as unvaccinated and without supplemental gel at days 9 to 11. Treatment one (TRT 1 n = 4 groups) was provided supplemental gel at days 9 to 11 without vaccination. Treatment two (TRT 2; n = 4 groups) was vaccinated but did not receive supplemental gel at days 9 to 11. Treatment three (TRT 3; n = 4 groups) received supplemental gel at days 9 to 11 and were vaccinated. The group of four pigs housed together in a pen was considered the experimental unit for data analysis. Definitions for the behaviors and postures recorded and summarized for the trial included the following: Active was defined as standing, this included any upright postures. Inactive posture was defined as sitting or lying postures (both lateral and sternal). Time at drinker was defined as when an individual pig’s mouth was around the water nipple. Time at feeding stations was defined as the time when the individual pig’s head was inside the creep (that contained gel) or the three hole feeder (dry pelleted feed). There were no differences between treatments for active (P = 0.60), inactive (P = 0.99) or time at drinker (P = 0.37), respectively. There was a difference (P = 0.0085) between treatments for the percentage of time spent at the feeding stations with pigs receiving vaccine and no gel spending the least amount of time at the feeding stations compared to the other three treatment groups. Therefore, the availability of a gel product when pigs are vaccinated provided some benefit, as the time spent at the feeding station was higher compared to pigs that did not have access to the gel.

Keywords: ASL R2466

How to Cite:

Johnson, A. K., Sadler, L. J., Kline, J., Witte, R., Holt, W., Stalder, K. J., Layman, L., Karriker, L. A. & de Rodas, B., (2009) “The Effect of Supplementing Dry Feed with a Nutritional Gel Product at the Time of Vaccination on Nursery Pig Maintenance Behaviors and Postures”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 6(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/ans_air-180814-124

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Published on
01 Jan 2009
Peer Reviewed