There is a significant prevalence of diarrhoea after weaning, which is sometimes referred to as Post Weaning Diarrhoea (PWD). This is attributable to a number of factors, including:

  • Weaning stress makes the intestines more “leaky,” allowing poisons in and leaking fluid out.
  • The transition from a milk-based diet to a cereal-based one can cause intestinal inflammation.
  • Only 50% of pigs eat within 24 hours of weaning, and 10% do not feed for at least 48 hours after weaning.
  • When a pig does not feed, the motility of the gut slows, allowing any food in the gut to stall, allowing nasty bacteria in the gut to grow and cause diarrhea.
  • When pigs get chilly, their stomach motility slows, and the aforementioned can happen.
  • The acid in the stomach, which should destroy any hazardous bacteria the pig eats, becomes very neutral after weaning since the lactic acid from the milk feed is quickly gone.

In order to avoid PWD, we have started adding antibiotics and zinc in creep diets. But that we are being pressured to minimize our antibiotic use, and zinc will be restricted in feed from 2021, what can we do to assist control PWD?

  • Reduce stress during weaning.
  • Weaned piglets should not be cold; the lying area should be approximately 28°C.
  • Encourage creep consumption prior to weaning to acclimate the intestines to cereal-based meals.
  • In weaner accommodation, provide creep and water in a variety of forms, such as different feeders, troughs, or even as a gruel (take care with hygiene if feeding a gruel).
  • The weaning environment, including floors, walls, water sources, and feeders, must be spotlessly clean.
  • Consider the acidification of water.
  • Consider include pre or probiotics in your diet.


If you notice any symptoms of PWD or mortality in your post-weaning pigs, you should always contact your veterinary surgeon, as treatment may be required in some circumstances.