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Effect of MCFA on performance parameters in piglet rearing

Development of daily live weight gain

The use of free medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) is a future-oriented, low-cost solution for stabilising high-performance piglet feed. Encouraged by positive practical experience, a precision trial with weaners was conducted at the Futterkamp Training and Research Centre. The aim was to analyse the effect of MCFA on performance parameters in piglet rearing when feeding fully balanced feed mixes (acid package, BONVITAL, enzymes etc.) with and without MCFA.


Trial setup


240 piglets (Pi x BHZP) of mixed sexes were placed in stalls with plastic grilles with 12 animals per bay. 120 animals, i.e. 10 bays, were assigned to each feed group. The weaners had a liveweight of 8.1 kg at an average age of 24.1 days. Feeding took place in two phases, with a piglet rearing phase I feed for the first 15 days and a phase II feed for the following 25 days, almost ad libitum via a Spotmix unit (see Fig. 1).


The control feed contained a conventional acid mixture from the SCHAUMANN range, and 1% SCHAUMACID PROTECT granules were added to the trial feed. Apart from the MCFA in the SCHAUMACID PROTECT, there was no difference between these two acid mixtures. The test parameters were the liveweight development, feed intake, feed effort and subjective health of the piglets.


The feed trial proceeded with no notable health impacts on the piglets, and no differences between the trial groups could be established.


Evaluation - liveweight gains


Taking into account a trial duration of 40 days and a starting weight of 8.1 kg, the liveweight gain was high at more than 450 g per day, resulting in an average final weight of 26 kg (see Fig. 2). In the first part of the test the liveweight gains improved significantly by almost 20 g per day (+ 8%) with SCHAUMACID PROTECT. This improvement could not be maintained throughout the whole trial period. However, the SCHAUMACID PROTECT group outperformed the control group with a daily liveweight gain of 6 g higher than the control group (+ 1.3%).


Evaluation - feed effort


At 1.6 kg of feed per kilogram of liveweight increase, the average feed effort was at the normal level for corresponding rearing periods. The use of SCHAUMACID PROTECT reduced the feed effort in the first phase by 6% and by 5% over the entire rearing period compared with the control, so that 80 g less of feed was consumed to produce 1 kg of liveweight gain (see Fig. 3).


Summary of results


The results confirm the potential of MCFA as a performance-enhancing alternative in pig rearing. Further improvements can even be achieved at an already high performance level. Apart from a significant increase in liveweight gain in the first phase of rearing (phase I), the MCFA in SCHAUMACID PROTECT had a noticeably positive impact on nutrient conversion, reflected in the considerable improvement in feed effort.


Approx. 30 kg of piglet rearing feed is required to achieve a liveweight growth of 18 kg. The MCFA in 1% SCHAUMACID PROTECT granules reduces the feed effort by 5%, thus saving 1.5 kg of rearing feed per piglet.



Figures 1 to 3


Dr. Martin Rimbach

Dr. Martin Rimbach

Research & Developement - Devision Pig


Research & Developement

Devision Pigs

Phone +49 4101 218-2250

Fax    +49 4101 218-2287