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Chocolate could partially replace whey in swine diets

Research suggests chocolate candy can replace lactose in weanling pig diets.

A sugar called lactose is an important part of swine diets. Lactose is a very digestible sugar, and producers like it because it helps pigs grow. Unfortunately, lactose prices have increased in recent years.

In a presentation at the ADSA Midwest Branch / ASAS Midwestern Section Meeting, J. Gou explained how chocolate candy can fill in as a source of lactose in weanling pig diets. Guo, a graduate student at North Carolina State University, said chocolate candy can supply up to 45% of lactose without affecting pig performance.

Chocolate candy feed (CCF) is a byproduct of milk chocolate production. It doesn’t contain as much lactose as dried whey permeate, but Guo said CCF is cheaper.

Gou and fellow researchers studied 1,408 weanling pigs at a Murphy-Brown facility. They divided the pigs into four treatment groups, and gave three of the groups varying amounts of CCF. They also sampled blood and monitored the pigs for diarrhea.

Guo said adding CCF to swine diets did not affect average daily gain or gain-to-feed ratio. There was also no significant difference for diarrhea score, indicating that pig health did not vary between treatments.

For the experiment, the researchers bought CCF from a company called International Ingredient Corporation. Gou said the company mixes together byproducts from many different kinds of chocolate candy. He said this helps standardize the amount of lactose in CCF.

“This product is pretty consistent,” Guo said.

Guo’s abstract was titled “Evaluation of chocolate candy as an alternative carbohydrate source to lactose for weanling pigs.” It was presented as part of the ADSA Midwest Branch / ASAS Midwestern Graduate Student Competition.

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