Why nursery pigs require vitamins E and D
Animals with a healthy immune system will be more productive than those without, so getting pigs off to their best start is critical to their long-term success.
A weak immune system will lead to dips in overall animal efficiency. Those animals will grow more slowly, exhibit decreased efficiency and simply won’t get to market as quickly. We’ll see more consistent growth if we can reduce those immune dips. By addressing issues early on, we can focus more on keeping animals consistently healthy than on trying to treat challenges and bring up fall behinds.
There are some predictable stress points during which pigs often experience a suppressed immune system. Farrowing, weaning, moving rooms and vaccinations are all events that can be stressful on an animal, and as their body reacts to that stress, they are less able to fight off other challenges.
When pigs are weaned, they lose access to essential nutrients the sow was providing. These nutrients support their ability to mount and regulate an immune response. This makes nutrient supplementation at weaning an excellent strategy to encourage immunity and health.
Vitamin D and E are critical players in immune development and function
Vitamin D is essential for regulating normal immune function. It encourages the immune system to do what it should without creating too big of a response. Pigs with a healthy amount of vitamin D see reduced E. coli excretion, increased numbers of specific immune cells and increased antimicrobial action following vitamin D treatment.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can impact essential functions, such as the speed of immune response, enzyme functions and vitamin absorption. The antioxidant effect of vitamin E is also associated with immune cell wall integrity and, thereby, the health of those cells. Vitamin E is passed directly to the pig from the sow via milk. Once these pigs are weaned and moved into a nursery environment, vitamin E supplementation becomes incredibly important.
How to make sure your nursery pigs are getting their vitamins
Pigs need their vitamin D and E supplemented to avoid sluggish immune response and regular health issues. The easiest way to get those vitamins is through their feed. However, many pigs aren’t ready to go directly to solid food in a nursery setting. Pigs will drink before they will eat. This makes supplementing their water with vitamins D and E a preferable delivery system, as it works more quickly and can support pigs that are not yet on feed.
Natural sources of these two vitamins work better as they are more bioavailable than synthetic versions. With that in mind, finding a natural vitamin source for your animals is essential.
Supplement vitamins E & D with Essential-Lyte™
Essential-Lyte is a natural water additive designed to get weaned pigs drinking and eating faster by supporting gut health and immunity. It provides vitamins D and E, specific Microfused® Essential Oils, Actifibe® Prebiotic, water acidifier and electrolytes. This multifaceted approach to animal health helps ease nursery transitions and encourages eating, getting animals off to a strong start.