The influence of fibre inclusion and transit time regulation on the performance, health status, microbial activity and population, physico-chemical characteristics of the hindgut digesta and intestinal morphology in early weaned pigs were examined. For these experiments, wheat bran (WB) was used as fibre source and loperamide as a drug (LOP) to increase the digesta transit time. In Expt 1, a total of 128 early weaned pigs were randomly distributed in a 2×2 factorial combination of WB inclusion (0 v. 40g/kg) and LOP administration (0 v. 0.07mg/kg body weight) during 13d. For Expt 2, a total of twenty-four piglets were allotted to three dietary treatments for 15d with the same basal diet (control diet) as Expt 1; a diet with 80g/kg of WB and the combination of WB and LOP. In Expt 1, LOP improved the average daily feed intake and average daily gain of the animals (P=0.001 and 0.007, respectively). The same result was obtained when WB was combined with LOP. The WB-LOP group also showed a higher concentration of SCFA (P=0.013), acetic acid (P=0.004) and propionic acid (P=0.093). On the other hand, WB inclusion reduced the organic matter and crude protein digestibility (P=0.001) and tended to decrease the enterobacteria population (P=0.089). In Expt 2, WB increased the butyric acid concentration (P=0.086). We concluded that the inclusion of WB to modify the intestinal microbiota activity combined with LOP may be beneficial to animal health and performance. © 2009 The Authors.
- Digesta transit time
- Wheat bran