How Early-Stage Nutrition Helps Animals Reach Full Genetic Potential

Producing resilient animals requires optimal conditions at early life stages, wherein strategic nutrition solutions support future growth processes and performance outcomes. Five key considerations for long-term health are prevalent across agriculturally important species—swine, poultry, ruminants and aquaculture—and around the world. 

Gestation and Lactation
A developing fetus is influenced, both positively and negatively, by conditions of the maternal environment. After birth, the main source of nutrition for young mammals is the mother's milk. Maintaining maternal health and nutritional status is critical to affect health and development of the offspring.

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GI Tract Maturation
One of the main roles of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is to digest feed and absorb the resulting nutrients, supporting healthy development and biological functions. Stress factors can cause digestive disturbances, which are particularly challenging for young animals whose guts are not fully mature. Certain feed solutions can aid GI development and support long-term benefits.

Immune Function
Central to an animal's defense is the immune system, which continues to develop over time. This means young animals with relatively immature immune systems are more vulnerable to pathogenic challenges. Many nutritional solutions are designed to support the immune function of young animals, applied either indirectly to the mother, or directly to the young.

Weaning and Palatability
Appetites in weaning animals must be stimulated to secure adequate feed intake for development and growth. Young animals typically prefer sweet tastes, so high-intensity sweeteners offer an effective incentive when switching from liquid diets to solid feed. Notably, there are species-specific differences in palatability, and customized palatants and sweeteners can help minimize the time to first solid feeding.

ADM Early Animal Nutrition

Environmental Conditions
The early days and weeks of an animal's life are marked by heightened sensitivity to fluctuations in their environment, such as temperature, housing and population mixing. Starter feeds that consist of highly digestible materials can have a positive impact on physiology and immunology in subsequent life stages, ultimately supporting genetic productivity potential.

Early-Stage Animal Nutrition Report
Download our animal nutrition report to get ADM's unique perspective on the key considerations that support healthy farm animals throughout the lifecycle.

This information is intended for informational purposes only and does not imply any express recommendations for the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. Consult with a veterinarian for the care of all animals during health challenges.