The microbiome is a popular topic today and for good reason. Not only can it improve pig health, but a healthy microbiome also improves efficiency and profitability.
“The microbiome relates to the microorganisms, or bacteria, that live on your skin or in your body. Our bodies actually have good bacteria that populate the gut specifically,” says Emily Otto-Tice, a swine nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition. “They actually help stimulate your immune system and help us digest the food that we eat, and it's no different in animals.”
She says 70% of your immune system is found in the gut, and it's very much a symbiotic relationship with all those bacteria that help keep pathogenic bacteria like salmonella or E coli at bay and keep them from actually creating an active infection in your animals.
Bottom line? The more good bugs you have, and more diverse those good microbial populations are, the less likely it is that you're going to have a pathogenic infection.
Exposure to a good, healthy microbiome starts at birth. But Otto-Tice says there are several ways you can feed your pigs to influence the microbiome in the gut.
To learn more, check out this three-part series:
Part 1: Breaking Down the Microbiome
Part 2: Healthy Pigs Start With a Healthy Gut
Part 3: How Can We Feed Pigs to Improve the Microbiome?