Source: Retha Engels technical advisor, Meadow Feeds, photo credit: The Pig Site
Piglets are born without the necessary antibodies to flourish and are therefore dependent on the sow’s colostrum to help them develop a strong immune system and consequently reduce pre-weaning mortality. Colostrum also contains high concentrations of energy, protein and Vitamin D that are essential for newborn piglets for normal development of vital organs and the immature digestive system.
The composition of colostrum changes rapidly in the several hours after farrowing until it resembles typical sow’s milk after approximately 24 hours. The ability of the piglet’s gut to absorb the necessary immunoglobulins begins to reduce six hours after birth, and after 24 hours post-partum, the full benefits of these antibodies are no longer available to the piglets.
or this reason, it is crucial to ensure that the piglets receive adequate quantities of high-quality colostrum as soon as possible after birth to obtain passive immunity for optimum health in their lifetimes.