Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2011Peer reviewedOpen access

Growth performance, digestibility and faecal coliform bacteria in weaned piglets fed a cereal-based diet including either chicory (Cichorium intybus L) or ribwort (Plantago lanceolata L) forage

Ivarsson, Emma; Frankow-Lindberg, Bodil; Andersson, Kristina; Lindberg, Jan Erik


Twenty-five weaned 35-day-old piglets were used in a 35-day growth experiment to evaluate the effect of inclusion of chicory and ribwort forage in a cereal-based diet on growth performance, feed intake, digestibility and shedding of faecal coliform bacteria. A total of seven experimental diets were formulated, a cereal-based basal diet (B), and six diets with inclusion of 40, 80 and 160 g/kg chicory (C40, C80 and C160) or ribwort (R40, R80 and R160). Piglets had ad libitum access to feed and water throughout the experiment. Three and five weeks post-weaning faeces samples for determination of digestibility were collected once a day for five subsequent days. Additional faeces samples for determination of coliform counts were collected at days 1, 16 and 35 post-weaning. Piglets fed diet R160 had the lowest average daily feed intake (DFI) and daily weight gain (DWG), and differed (P < 0.05) from piglets fed diets B, R40 and R80. There were no differences in DFI and DWG between the chicory diets and diet B. Inclusion of chicory or ribwort had a minor negative impact on the coefficient of total tract apparent digestibility (CTTAD) of dry matter, organic matter and crude protein, whereas inclusion of both chicory and ribwort resulted in higher CTTAD of non-starch polysaccharides and neutral detergent fibre (NDF). The CTTAD of arabinose were higher for diets C160 and R160 than for diet B (P, 0.05), and the CTTAD of uronic acid was higher for diets C40, C80, C160, R80 and R160 than for diet B (P < 0.05). Age affected the CTTAD for all parameters (P < 0.05) except for NDF, with higher values at 5 than at 3 weeks post-weaning. The coliform counts decreased with increasing age (P < 0.05), but was not affected by treatment. The results indicate that inclusion of up to 160 g/kg of chicory do not negatively affect performance, whereas high inclusion of ribwort have a negative impact on feed consumption and consequently on growth rate. Both herbs have a higher digestibility of fibre compared to cereal fibre. Chicory and ribwort are both promising as feedstuffs to weaned piglets, but the low palatability of ribwort limits the inclusion level.


piglets; performance; digestibility; fibre; uronic acid

Published in

2011, Volume: 5, number: 4, pages: 558-564