This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of different copper sources (inorganic and organic) on the growth performance, fecal copper excretion, intestinal morphology, and health in growing pigs. A total of 40 growing pigs (30.22 ± 1.92 kg) were randomly assigned to 5 dietary treatments: a basal control diet (CON), 4 experimental diets supplemented with either copper sulfate (CuSO4), Cu-glycine complex (CuGly), Cu-amino acid complex (CuAA), or Cu-hydroxy-4-methylthio butanoate chelate complex (CuHMB) at 100 ppm, respectively. At the end of the study (28 days), fecal and blood samples were collected, and the pigs were slaughtered to determine the intestinal morphology. During the 28 days of the experimental period, pigs fed the inorganic and organic copper showed a higher average daily gain (p < 0.01) and gain feed ratio (p < 0.01). There were no differences in mineral concentrations of the serum; however, the copper concentration of the feces was lower (p < 0.01) in the CuAA and CuHMB groups. The intestinal morphology and blood profiles did not significantly differ between the groups. In conclusion, the organic copper sources (CuAA and CuHMB) can be used as a growth promoter to replace the CuSO4 without any negative effects on health in growing pigs and to reduce fecal copper excretion.
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