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Addition of chromic oxide to creep feed as a fecal marker for selection of creep feed–eating suckling pigs

Wikke I. KullerDepartment of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands

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Hetty M. G. van Beers-SchreursDepartment of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands

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Nicoline M. SoedeAdaptation Physiology Group, Department of Animal Science, Wageningen University, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands

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Marcel A. M. TaverneDepartment of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands

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Bas KempAdaptation Physiology Group, Department of Animal Science, Wageningen University, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands

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Jos H. M. VerheijdenDepartment of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands

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Abstract

Objective—To determine whether the addition of chromic oxide (Cr2O3) to creep feed could be used as a visual marker in feces for selection of creep feed–eating suckling pigs.

Animals—20 suckling pigs.

Procedures—Via syringe, 5 pigs (2 to 3 days old on day 0; 1 pig/treatment) from each of 4 litters received oral administrations of 10, 20, 30, or 40 g of creep feed containing 10 g of Cr2O3•kg−1 on each of 2 consecutive days (days 20 and 21) or 30 g of creep feed containing 10 g of Cr2O3•kg−1 on day 20 and 30 g of Cr2O3-free creep feed on day 21. On days 21 through 24, 6 fecal samples were collected from each pig at regular intervals between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Green-colored feces were considered indicative of creep feed consumption (eaters). Data analyses were based on single and multiple fecal samples.

Results—On day 22, evaluation of 1 fecal sample/pig and multiple fecal samples per pig resulted in identification of as many as 40% and only 15% of the feed-treated pigs wrongly as noneaters, respectively. Repeated sampling over multiple days would identify 99% of eaters accurately. Pigs erroneously identified as noneaters were those administered either low amounts of Cr2O3-supplemented creep feed for 2 days or Cr2O3-supplemented creep feed on only 1 day.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Data suggest that addition of Cr2O3 to creep feed enables selection of individual creep feed–eating suckling pigs via examination of feces, provided that repeated fecal samples are evaluated.

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether the addition of chromic oxide (Cr2O3) to creep feed could be used as a visual marker in feces for selection of creep feed–eating suckling pigs.

Animals—20 suckling pigs.

Procedures—Via syringe, 5 pigs (2 to 3 days old on day 0; 1 pig/treatment) from each of 4 litters received oral administrations of 10, 20, 30, or 40 g of creep feed containing 10 g of Cr2O3•kg−1 on each of 2 consecutive days (days 20 and 21) or 30 g of creep feed containing 10 g of Cr2O3•kg−1 on day 20 and 30 g of Cr2O3-free creep feed on day 21. On days 21 through 24, 6 fecal samples were collected from each pig at regular intervals between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Green-colored feces were considered indicative of creep feed consumption (eaters). Data analyses were based on single and multiple fecal samples.

Results—On day 22, evaluation of 1 fecal sample/pig and multiple fecal samples per pig resulted in identification of as many as 40% and only 15% of the feed-treated pigs wrongly as noneaters, respectively. Repeated sampling over multiple days would identify 99% of eaters accurately. Pigs erroneously identified as noneaters were those administered either low amounts of Cr2O3-supplemented creep feed for 2 days or Cr2O3-supplemented creep feed on only 1 day.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Data suggest that addition of Cr2O3 to creep feed enables selection of individual creep feed–eating suckling pigs via examination of feces, provided that repeated fecal samples are evaluated.

Contributor Notes

Dr. van Beers-Schreurs' present address is Animal Health Service, Pig Health Department, Arnsbergstraat 7, Postbus 9, 7400 AA Deventer, The Netherlands.

The authors thank Marcel Horlings and Mieke van der Burg for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Kuller.