1. Baby pigs were removed from the sow 36–48 h after birth and reared on a diet of reconstituted whole-milk powder until 28 d of age. The whole milk was either mildly or severely heated before spray-drying; the severe heating completely denatured the whey proteins.
2. When the two milks were given at a high level of intake, either at hourly intervals or twice daily, severe scouring and some deaths occurred, the incidence being higher among pigs receiving the severely heated milk. The severe heat treatment also reduced the nutritive value of the milk powder as measured by the performance of the pigs during the 1st week of life. However, no difference in the nutritive value of the two milks was apparent for the surviving pigs over the whole experimental period.
3. There were no deaths when the two milks were given at a moderate level of intake and at hourly intervals. The effect of heat treatment on performance was similar to that at the high level of intake.
4. The apparent digestibility of the nitrogen in the diet was similar for both milks. However, balance trials could not be carried out when scouring occurred, when differences between the milks were most likely to be apparent. The N retention was similar with both milks at 7 d of age, although retention was higher when the severely heated milk was given to pigs between 14 and 21 d of age.
5. The digestion of the two milks was studied in 28-d-old pigs. The ability of the severely heated milk to clot in the stomach was greatly reduced compared with that of the mildly heated milk, but the performance of the pigs was unaffected. No other differences in the digestion of the milks were found. The ability of the diet to clot in the stomach appeared to be unimportant at this age.
6. It is possible that a reduction in the clotting ability of the severely heated milk was responsible for the decreased efficiency of digestion during the 1st week of life.