Growth promotion effects and plasma changes from feeding high dietary concentrations of zinc and copper to weanling pigs (regional study)

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An experiment was conducted to determine the effect of high dietary intakes of Zn and Cu and their combination on growth performance of weanling pigs with diverse health status and management strategies. Twelve experiment stations cooperated and used a total of 1,356 pigs that averaged 6.55 kg BW and 22.2 d age at weaning. The four dietary treatments, all of which met or exceeded NRC requirements, were 1) control, 2) 3,000 ppm Zn (from Zn oxide), 3) 250 Cu ppm (from Cu sulfate), or 4) 3,000 ppm Zn and 250 ppm Cu. The diets were fed as a complex Phase I diet (1.4% lysine) for 7 d followed by a Phase II diet (1.2% lysine) for 21 d. Chlortetracycline (220 ppm) was added to all diets. Fecal color (1 = yellow to 5 = black) and consistency (1 = very firm to 5 = very watery) were scored daily for 3 wk. At the end of the 28-d study, 412 pigs were bled at five stations, and plasma Cu, Zn, and Fe concentrations were determined at one station with atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Average daily gain (375, 422, 409, 415 g/d), feed intake (637, 690, 671, 681 g/d), and gain/feed (586, 611, 611, 612 g/kg) were improved (P < .01) by the addition of Zn and(or) Cu. Significant Cu × Zn interactions imply that the responses to Zn and Cu were independent and not additive. There were significant (P < .01) Zn and Cu effects and a Zn × Cu interaction on fecal color (3.17, 3.24, 4.32, 3.57) and consistency (2.39, 2.14, 2.14, 2.13). Dietary additions of Cu and Zn resulted in elevated plasma concentrations of Cu and Zn, respectively. These data indicate that pharmacological additions of 3,000 ppm Zn (oxide) or 250 ppm Cu (sulfate) stimulate growth beyond that derived from intakes of Zn and Cu that meet nutrient requirements. However, the combination of Zn and Cu did not result in an additive growth response.

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Journal of Animal Science

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