Influence of dietary electrolyte balance on feed preference and growth performance of postweaned piglets

S. A. Guzmán-Pino, D. Solà-Oriol, R. Davin, E. G. Manzanilla, J. F. Pérez

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© 2015 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved. A total of 672 male and female piglets (21 d postweaning; approximately 13 kg BW) were selected to be used in 3 different experiments to assess the influence of dietary electrolyte balance (dEB; Na + K – Cl, in mEq/kg of diet) on feed preference and growth performance. In Exp. 1, piglets were fed 4 isoenergetic diets differing in dEB level: 16, 133, 152, and 269 mEq/ kg diets. Changes on dEB were obtained by changing the levels of sodium and chloride with calcium chloride, calcium carbonate, and sodium bicarbonate. Piglets fed the 16 and 133 mEq/kg diets achieved a greater ADG (P < 0.04), BW (P < 0.04), and apparent total-tract digestibility of CP and Zn (P < 0.05) than did piglets fed the 269 mEq/kg diet. The 16 mEq/kg level also reduced blood total CO2 (P < 0.01), bicarbonate (P < 0.01), and base excess (P < 0.02) concentrations compared with the rest of the dietary treatments. Three diets differing in dEB were designed for Exp. 2 and 3: –16, 151, and 388 mEq/kg diets. In Exp. 2, greater ADFI (P = 0.03), BW (P = 0.02), ADG (P < 0.001), and G:F (P < 0.01) were observed for piglets fed the –16 mEq/kg diet than those fed the 388 mEq/kg diet. Subsequently, their short-term preference for these diets was assessed by using a 2-d choice-test protocol (30 min). Piglets preferred (P < 0.001) the 388 mEq/kg diet to the –16 mEq/ kg diet, independently of the dietary treatment they received before. Pigs also preferred (P < 0.001) the 151 mEq/kg diet when compared with the –16 mEq/kg diet. Experiment 3 assessed the long-term preference and short-term consumption of the –16 and 388 mEq/ kg diets. Similar to Exp. 2, animals showed a greater (P < 0.001) intake of the 388 mEq/kg diet than they did of the –16 mEq/kg diet during both the preference (14 d) and 1-feeder (2 h) tests conducted. Results show that low rather than high dEB levels optimize growth performance of piglets. When they have the opportunity to choose, piglets are unable to select the diet that optimizes their performance, either in short- or in longterm preference tests, showing also a greater short-term consumption of high instead of low dEB levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2840-2848
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Acid–base status
  • Dietary electrolyte balance
  • Digestibility
  • Growth performance
  • Pig
  • Preference


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