Zinc Oxide in Weanling Pig Diets

Two 28-d randomized complete block design experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of concentrations and sources of Zn on growth performance of nursery pigs.

Seven stations participated in Exp. 1, which evaluated the efficacy of replacing 2,500 ppm of Zn from ZnO with 125, 250, or 500 ppm of Zn from Zn methionine. A control diet with 125 ppm of supplemental Zn was included at all stations. A total of 615 pigs were used in 26 replicates. Average weaning age was 20.6 d and the average initial BW was 6.3 kg.

There were no differences in any growth response among the three supplemental Zn methionine levels fed in Exp. 1. Zinc supplementation from Zn methionine improved ADG compared with the control during all phases (P < 0.05), due primarily to an increase in ADFI. Pigs fed 2,500 ppm of Zn from ZnO gained faster (P < 0.01) than those fed the control diet during all phases, and faster (P < 0.05) than those fed supplemental Zn from Zn methionine for the 28-d experiment. Differences in gain were again due mainly to differences in feed intake.

A second experiment compared five sources of supplemental organic Zn (500 ppm of Zn) with 500 and 2,000 ppm supplemental Zn from ZnO and a control (140 ppm total Zn). Six stations used a total of 624 pigs, with an average weaning age of 20.4 d and averaging 6.2 kg BW in 15 replicates.

Pigs fed 2,000 ppm of Zn from ZnO gained faster (P < 0.05) than pigs fed the control or any of the 500 ppm of Zn treatments (ZnO or organic Zn). Pigs fed the 2,000 ppm of Zn from ZnO also consumed more feed than those receiving 500 ppm of Zn from ZnO or from any of the organic Zn sources (P < 0.05). Organic sources of Zn did not improve gain, feed intake, or feed efficiency beyond that achieved with the control diet.

Supplemental Zn at a concentration of 500 ppm, whether in the form of the oxide or in an organic form, was not as efficacious for improved ADG as 2,000 to 2,500 ppm of Zn from ZnO.

Hollis, G.R.; Carter, S.D.; Cline, T.R.; Crenshaw, T.D.; Cromwell, G.L.; Hill, G.M.; Kim, S.W.; Lewis, A.J.; Mahan, D.C.; Miller, P.S.; Stein,H.H.; Veum, T.L. (NCR-42 Committee on Swine Nutrition). 2005. Effects of replacing pharmacological levels of dietary zinc oxide with lower dietary levels of various organic zinc sources for weanling pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 83:2123-2129.