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Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research

On-line version ISSN 2219-0635
Print version ISSN 0030-2465

Onderstepoort j. vet. res. vol.76 n.3 Pretoria  2009




The effects of low levels of dietary trace minerals on the plasma levels, faecal excretion, health and performance of pigs in a hot African climate



M.H. Boma; G. Bilkei

Veterinary Consulting, Bahnhofstrasse 42, CH - 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland




The present study was performed in order to evaluate the effects of lower than usual industry levels of dietary trace minerals on plasma levels, faecal excretion, performance, mortality and morbidity in growing-finishing pigs in a hot African climate.
Group 1 (n =100 pigs) received a diet with common industry levels of trace minerals.
Group 2 (n =100 pigs) received reduced dietary trace mineral levels but were fed the same basic diet as Group 1.
Mortality, morbidity, pig performance and carcass measurements were evaluated.
Two pigs in Group 1 and three pigs in Group 2 died. Thirteen pigs in Group 1 and 27 pigs in Group 2 were medically treated (P < 0.05).
Carcass masses, back fat depth, loin depth, and lean percent were not significantly different between the groups. However, the carcasses when evaluated revealed a non-significant higher back fat thickness, lower loin eye area and percentage of fat-free lean in barrows compared to gilts within each group.
Despite lower initial masses, pigs fed diets containing industry levels of trace minerals were heavier (P < 0.05) and had a higher (P< 0.05) than average daily gains compared to those that received a diet containing lower levels of trace minerals.
Faecal zinc excretion was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in pigs fed with lower dietary zinc levels. Copper, manganese and iron excretion were not affected (P > 0.05) by the dietary levels of these trace minerals.
Plasma trace mineral concentrations were not affected by the dietary treatment.

Keywords: Climate, mortality, morbidity, performance, pigs, trace element



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Accepted for publication 19 February 2009-Editor



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