Pig International - September 2017 - 30
30 ❙ PigInternational
MONOGASTRIC ANIMAL DIETS
tonite will lose some of its strong binding properties and start
exhibiting the strong swelling properties of sodium bentonite.
In rapid-growing animals consuming large amounts of feed
(rapid transit time), this is not much of an issue, but it still
merits considering when using a bentonite product.
So far, it is evident that bentonites are used either to
absorb water or bind aflatoxins. They do have, however,
some other side effects. The first is that of being a mild
laxative. This might be of interest in diets for adult animals
consuming diets poor in fiber but is also a concern in diets
for very young animals. Thus, a moderate inclusion rate
might be better than a higher one. On the other hand, feeds
containing high levels of bentonite will withstand better the
harsh conditions of humid climates because bentonite acts
a natural desiccant. Finally, the use of bentonites in liquid
feeding requires some attention because its colloidal nature
can provide benefits but also cause disturbances.
I have used up to 2 percent bentonite in many commercial
feeds without any troubles, but I am always aware of the
possible side-effects. When I start new, I prefer to use only 1
percent as my upper limit. Other clays can substitute bentonite, and I have done so by pairing the main purpose of using
bentonite with the characteristics of the replacement clay. In fact, for me, bentonite has been the
first clay to use, hence my familiarity with the
product. Other clays are at least as efficient or as
problematic as bentonite. ■
BENTONITES ARE USED TO
absorb water or bind aflatoxins.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ September 2017