The aim of this study was to compare oral iron supplementation in feed with a standard iron injection and assess the impact on the health and productivity of pigs. The reliability of a quick test (HemoCue) for the measurement of blood haemoglobin concentration was also investigated. Three pig herds, with a total of 88 sows and their piglets, were included in the study. Piglets in treatment group O were fed a special iron-rich feed on days 2 to 4, 5 to 7 and 8 to 12 of lactation using a specially designed feeding device. Piglets in group IM received 200 mg of an iron dextran complex intramuscularly at three days of age. Haemoglobin concentrations and performance of the piglets were compared between groups. The mean haemoglobin concentrations in pigs at weaning were 131.4 and 116.4 g/l for pigs in groups O and IM, respectively (P<0.01). Daily weight gain (253.9 v 248.8 g/day) and piglet mortality (11.4 v 12.2 per cent) were slightly better in group O than in group IM (P>0.05).
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