Piglet uniformity and survival: effects of pre-ovulatory sow nutrition

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstractAcademic

Abstract

The increase in litter size over the last decades is associated with increased pre-weaning piglet mortality. An important factor in piglet survival is litter uniformity. Although consequences of litter uniformity on piglet survival and pre-weaning piglet performance have been studied, the causes of litter uniformity and possible factors affecting it are poorly described. Recent studies suggest that the nutrition of the sow in the pre-ovulatory phase preceding pregnancy can influence uniformity in embryo and piglet development during pregnancy, possibly related to effects on insulin and/or IGF-1. For example, dextrose and lactose (each 150 g/day) in the pre-mating sow diet have been shown to improve subsequent litter uniformity at birth. Fermentable non-starch polysaccharides (fNSP; 50% sugar beet pulp) in the pre-mating gilt diet resulted in more uniform fetal weights at d27 of gestation. More recently, we studied the effect of starch-rich (274 g/ kg starch, 123 g/kg fNSP; mainly wheat, peas and tapioca) and fNSPrich (86 g/kg starch, 300 g/kg fNSP; mainly sugar beet pulp) diets during the weaning-to-estrus interval (incl. gestation) on subsequent litter uniformity at birth (n = 900 litters). The NSP-rich diet resulted in larger litters (11.73 vs. 11.31 piglets, p = 0.02) with a higher uniformity (SE of piglet birth weight: 0.069 vs. 0.072 kg; p = 0.02), while normally litter uniformity decreases with litter size. These studies emphasize the importance of the pre-ovulatory phase for subsequent piglet development and uniformity. Further research is needed to unravel the physiological mechanisms involved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th Annual Conference of the European Society for Domestic Animal Reproduction (ESDAR), Eger, Hungary, 15-18 September 2010
Place of PublicationBerlin, Germany
PublisherBlackwell Verlag
Pages53
Volume45
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event14th Annual Conference of The European Society for Domestic Animal Reproduction (ESDAR), Eger, Hungary -
Duration: 14 Sep 201018 Sep 2010

Conference

Conference14th Annual Conference of The European Society for Domestic Animal Reproduction (ESDAR), Eger, Hungary
Period14/09/1018/09/10

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