The choice of feed, feed strategies have important effects on gilt and sow performance

Dec 17, 2013
Credit: Fagbladet svin

In her doctoral project, Signe Lovise Thingnes (Norwegian School of Veterinary Science/Norsvin business PhD candidate) used three different methodological approaches in order to investigate how gilts and sows are affected by feed and feed strategy during the breeding, gestation and lactation period. A higher energy content in the feed given to sows in the breeding period and parts of the first pregnancy was shown to give extra body reserves at the onset of breeding and to have a positive effect on life-span and production. During the lactation period, when good feed intake is important for minimising weight loss and loss of condition, free access to feed increased the risk of the sows losing their appetite. The use of pea starch in feed given to lactating sows proved to have a positive effect on the sows' feed intake and condition at the weaning stage.

Breeding based on a long-term and systematic strategy has given Norwegian pig farmers a hybrid sow (Norwegian country pig x Yorkshire) with a good growth potential and high meat percentage. In addition, productivity has increased in terms of larger litters, higher weights at the weaning stage and a larger number of litters per sow per year. This leads to greater demands on the sow and it is therefore important that the feed strategies employed in herds match the production potential of the animals.

Thingnes' first study monitored 500 LY-sows from 25 kg until they were discarded and examined how the distribution of feed with a different energy content during the breeding period and the first stage of pregnancy affected the physical development of the animals and their performance as they produced several litters. A higher in the feed resulted in gilts that were younger and had larger fat reserves at the start of breeding compared to the animals in the control group. Gilts that were given a combination of slightly more energy-rich feed both during the breeding period and parts of the first pregnancy had fewer problems with reproduction and numerically speaking the longest life-span and also produced more piglets throughout their lifetime compared with the other groups being treated.

The choice of feed and feed strategies has an important effect on gilt and sow performance

In the second study, Thingnes investigated whether to feed during the last three weeks of the lactation period was a better feed strategy than a strictly controlled increase in feed when it came to the sows' production results and toleration of the physical demands involved. The study showed that free access to feed increases the risk of the sows losing their appetite, and sows that go off their food have a lower feed intake and a higher . The study also demonstrated that the sow's litter number (age) has an effect on her performance during the lactation period and sows from the first litter had a lower feed intake and a higher risk of losing interest in food.

In the third study, Thingnes looked at whether pea starch is a good alternative to wheat starch in feed for lactating sows as regards their performance during the lactation period. The study showed that sows fed with pea starch had a higher intake, a lower weight loss and were in better condition at the weaning stage.

Thingnes' doctoral research was carried out at Norwegian pig farms.

Explore further: Salmon fry have less sensitive intestines than smolt

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rubber slat mats could improve animal well-being

Jul 31, 2013

New research shows that rubber slat mats could improve swine health. In a new study in the Journal of Animal Science, researchers in Europe studied how different types of flooring affects claw and limb lesions, locomotion and fl ...

Exercise during gestation might affect future fertility

Mar 12, 2013

A short walk around the barn might improve the future fertility of Yorkshire gilts. According to research presented by Samantha Kaminski, a graduate student at North Dakota State University, swine fetuses showed significant ...

Salmon fry have less sensitive intestines than smolt

Dec 02, 2013

A PhD research project at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science has provided essential knowledge about the mechanisms leading to feed-induced enteritis in salmon and also insight into the salmon's intestinal ...

Insects can support livestock production

Nov 11, 2013

The use of insects as an alternative source of protein in animal feed is becoming more globally appealing. However, EU law currently prohibits including protein derived from insects in animal feed - with ...

Researchers re-evaluate swine nutrition

Aug 05, 2013

For a new study in the Journal of Animal Science, researchers evaluated how different concentrations of lipids affect growth performance in weaned pigs. The researchers also studied how different sources of lipids affect ...

Recommended for you

Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

3 hours ago

The same viruses that make us sick can take up residence in and on the human body without provoking a sneeze, cough or other troublesome symptom, according to new research at Washington University School ...

Meteorite that doomed dinosaurs remade forests

6 hours ago

The meteorite impact that spelled doom for the dinosaurs 66 million years ago decimated the evergreens among the flowering plants to a much greater extent than their deciduous peers, according to a study ...

New camera sheds light on mate choice of swordtail fish

8 hours ago

We have all seen a peacock show its extravagant, colorful tail feathers in courtship of a peahen. Now, a group of researchers have used a special camera developed by an engineer at Washington University in ...

User comments : 0