Animal Science, Department of


First Advisor

Phillip S. Miller

Date of this Version


Document Type



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Animal Science, Under the Supervision of Professor Phillip S. Miller. Lincoln, NE May, 2017

Copyright (c) 2017 Kelly Moore


A total of 72 crossbred pigs weaned at 24 days were assigned to a completely randomized design (CRD) arrangement of treatments to determine the effects of egg yolk on a nursery piglet’s growth performance, circulating immunoglobulins, biomarkers of intestinal integrity, and microbial community. Pigs were provided with spray-dried plasma (SDP), spray-dried egg yolk (SDEY), or a control diet. During Phase III, ADG was affected by treatment (P < 0.10). Pigs consuming the egg yolk diet had greater (P < 0.05) ADG vs. the plasma group for Phase III. Circulating immunoglobulins (IgA and IgG) were not affected by dietary treatment. C-reactive protein (CRP) and haptoglobin (Hp) concentrations remained constant during the experiment. Treatment did effect Glugacon like peptide-2 (GLP-2) concentration (P < 0.01) where pigs fed egg yolk had the greatest concentration. Microbial OTUs were similar among treatments (P > 0.8), but there were changes over time; from d 0 to Phase I and II there was an increase in diversity (P < 0.01) followed by a decrease in diversity (P < 0.01) in Phase III. Dominance was higher (P < 0.01) in Phase III when compared to the other phases. Treatments had no effect (P = 0.33) on bacterial community composition, but phases had a significant effect (P < 0.001) on bacterial community composition. Cost analysis of the diets showed that egg yolk was $2.30/lb and plasma was $2.16/lb. Egg yolk was the least expensive diet during Phase II, and the most expensive during Phase I. These results indicate that performance, circulating immunoglobulins, biomarkers of intestinal integrity, and microbial communities are similar in pigs receiving nursery diets containing either egg yolk or spray-dried plasma. Therefore, based upon these results the type of protein utilized in a nursery pig diet may be determined by cost.

Advisor: Phillip S. Miller