Effect of a beneficial flora colonization of pen surfaces on health and performance of pig weaners

Eric Royer (ancien Ifip, aujourd'hui Idele) et al., 70th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP), 26-30 octobre 2019, Ghent, Belgique, p. 566

The objective was to test the effects of a positive biofilm formation on the surfaces of post-weaning piglet facilities.
In total, 494 piglets were used in two experiments using a sanitary challenge. 48 h (d-2) before introduction of piglets, 2 identical rooms of 14 pens were sprayed either with water (Control) or a mix (LP) of selected bacteria strains.
Rooms were exchanged between Exp.1 and Exp.2. In Exp.1 rooms were sprayed again at d 15 and in Exp.2 at d 5, 12, 19, 26 and 33. Environmental challenge for piglets was stronger in Exp.1 than in Exp.2. Wiping samples indicated significantly (P<0.05) higher loads of aerobic bacteria (Lactobacillus spp., Bacillus spp.) in LP pen surfaces in Exp.1 at d 0, 5, and 14 and at d 0, 5, 7 and 35 in Exp.2, suggesting the development of the positive biofilm. Percentage of piglets with regular consistency of faeces was continuously higher in LP rooms in Exp.1 (from d 8 to 21) and Exp.2 (from d 5 to 28). Furthermore, mean scores were significantly improved at d 8 in Exp.1 (3.13 vs 4.50; P<0.01) and in Exp.2 at d 9 (2.19 vs 3.19; P=0.01) and 28 (2.03 vs 2.50; P<0.01). Disease outbreaks occurred two days later in Exp.1 (d 9 vs 7) and five days later in Exp.2 (d 12 vs 7) in LP rooms. However, total numbers of deaths from diarrhoea were similar in both treatments in Exp.1 and 2. In Exp.1, LP piglets had numerically better overall ADFI (794 vs 781 g/d; P>0.10) and ADG (510 vs 499 g/d; P>0.10), and had slightly higher weight at d 42 (29.8 vs 29.4 kg; P>0.10). In Exp.2, ADFI (259 vs 219 g/d; P<0.001) and ADG (211 vs 154 g/d; P<0.001) were significantly increased in the LP treatment in phase 1 (d 0 to 15). Weight was significantly higher for LP piglets at d 15 (11.9 vs 11.0 kg; P<0.001), although it was similar at d 41 (P>0.10). In conclusion, the spraying of a beneficial flora on surfaces may result in a protective positive biofilm that would help the piglets to deal better with the weaning challenges.