June 13, 2018

14/06/2018: Improving diet palatability to stimulate sow feed intake during lactation in summer

by Simon Eskinazi, Technical Manager Palatability, Nutriad Ltd, Belgium

Feed intake during lactation is critical to ensure the sow is able to satisfy the nutritional needs of her growing litter whilst maintaining body condition.

Of the many factors that can limit production efficiency climate can have the greatest influence, particularly during the summer. In heat stress conditions, appetite and voluntary feed intake decreases in order to reduce the thermic effect of feed digestion (TEF). Numerous strategies to alleviate this problem have been explored, such as cooling buildings or animals and increasing diet nutrient density to compensate for reduced feed intake. Improving diet palatability through the addition of flavouring additives also offers the potential to stimulate sow feed intake during this critical period. This study was undertaken to evaluate the supplementation of different levels of a proprietary flavouring (KRAVE® AP) in diets for sows during lactation and its impact on their productive and reproductive performance. 

Image credit: Nutriad
Materials and methods

A total of 300 mixed parity high-prolific sows (Danbred) were divided into three replicates of 100 sows. Within each replicate, sows were distributed in a completely randomised experimental design among three dietary treatments according to body weight, backfat thickness and parity (1st, 2nd and 3rd – 4th parity) at weaning.

Sows were allocated of three treatments:
T1. Control diet
T2. Control diet + 250g/t KRAVE® AP
T3. Control diet +500g/t KRAVE® AP

The sows were individually housed in farrowing crates with controlled access to feed fed at a rate of two kg for the sow and 0.5kg/piglet and water ad-libitum. Each treatment consisted of 100 repetitions with each animal considered as an experimental unit. Within 48 hours after birth piglets were ear tagged and cross fostered as necessary to standardise litter size at 15 piglets. Piglets were not offered creep feed during the lactation period.

Daily maximum, minimum, mean, and variance of daily ambient temperature and relative humidity were averaged and analysed for the entire experimental period. Body protein, fat, and energy contents at farrowing and at weaning were estimated according to the equations of Dourmad et al. (1997). Protein, lipid, and energy losses during lactation were estimated as the difference between calculated values determined at farrowing and at weaning. Daily milk production over the lactation period was calculated from litter growth rate, litter size between d 2 and 24, and milk DM using the equation from Noblet and Etienne (1989). The sows’ performance and physiological parameters were measured during lactation. Litter parameters were collected at farrowing and at weaning.

Read the full article, HERE.

Visit the Nutriad website, HERE.

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