Colostrum of Pigs

 

Pigs are born with a naive immune system.

The animal starts to become immunocompetent at day 70 of gestation.  However owing to the design of the placenta, prior to birth there is no passive transfer of antibodies.

 

It is essential that newborn piglets have access to colostrum within 6 hours of birth.

 

Farrowing feeding piglets

Split suckling

If necessary, split suckling is advised in large litters or where one sow dies and it is required to provide colostrum to two litters.

 

The piglet can consume 250g of colostrum in the first day, drinking every hour for 20 seconds.

 

What if I have insufficient colostrum?

What are the basic components for colostrum – why should the piglet get mum’s colostrum

 

Composition of colostrum

Colostrum provides food and bioactive compounds and vitally important - a source of warmth.

Nutrient composition

Per 100 ml

 

Colostrum

 

Milk

Bioactive compounds

Per 100 ml

 

Colostrum

 

Milk

 

Total dry matter (g)

24.8

18.7

Serum albumin (g)

1.46

0.45

 

Total protein (g)

15.1

5.5

IgG (g)

8.9

0.1

 

Casein (g)

1.3

2.6

IgA (g)

2.0

0.6

 

Whey (g)

13.7

2.9

IgM (g)

0.85

0.15

 

Lactose (g)

3.4

5.3

Lactoferrin (mg)

120

40

 

Total fat (g)

5.9

7.6

ECF (μg)

157

19

 

Palmitic acid (g)

2.0

2.8

IGF-I (μg)

40

1

 

Palmitoleic acid (g)

0.3

0.6

IGF-II (μg)

29

2

 

Stearic acid (g)

0.4

0.5

Insulin (μg)

1.5

0.2

 

Oleic acid (g)

2.2

2.5

TGF-β1 (μg)

4.3

0.2

 

Linoleic acid (g)

0.7

0.8

TGF -β2 (μg)

2.0

0.4

 

Vit A (μg)

170

100

Neutrophils

+++

 

 

Vit D (μg)

1.5

0.9

Lymphocytes  (memory T)

+++

 

 

Vit E (μg)

380

260

Lysozyme

+++

 

 

Vit K (μg)

9.5

9.2

 

Vit C (μg)

7.2

4.7

The immunogloblins provide the piglet with an immediate source of antibodies to fight a variety of diseases.  The IgG is for the blood stream, the IgA covers the surface membranes.  Note normal milk still contains a concentration of IgA.  Lactoferrin is bactericidal through competition for iron – an important  nutrient for enteric bacteria.

IGF-β2 plays a role in controlling the intestines response to antigens

Memory T cells play a major role in passing on immunity to the piglet

Total ash (g)

0.7

0.9

Calcium (mg)

71

184

Phosphorous (mg)

105

139

Potassium (mg)

113

82

Magnesium (mg)

8

10

Sodium (mg)

71

43

 

Some Factors affecting colostrum function/availability

Mother

Udder oedema

Insufficient teats

Damaged teats

Mastitis

Nervousness

Constipation

Vaccine programme

Piglet

Draughts

Chilling

Hypothermia

Competition

First to last born

Splayleg/congenital tremor

 

Serum concentration in piglet

Piglets who have received sufficient colostrum will have a serum immunoglobulin concentration of > 10 mg/ml.  (Normal around 25-35 mg/l.)  If total protein used (via a refractometer), a total protein < 40 mg/l, implies intake insufficient. DAKO has an Elisa kit for IgG.

 

Note the mother has to receive the antigen (bug) to produce antibodies – note vaccine administration and storage and feed-back programmes