Effects of high fiber intake during late pregnancy on sow physiology, colostrum production and piglet performance.

Loisel, F., Farmer, C., Ramaekers, P., and Quesnel, H. (2013). "Effects of high fiber intake during late pregnancy on sow physiology, colostrum production and piglet performance.", Journal of Animal Science, 91(11), pp. 5269-5279. doi : 10.2527/jas.2013-6526  Access to full text

Abstract

Dietary fiber given during pregnancy may influence sow endocrinology and increase piglet BW gain during early lactation. The aim of the current study was to determine whether dietary fiber given to sows during late pregnancy induces endocrine changes that could modulate sow colostrum production and, thus, piglet performance. From d 106 of pregnancy until parturition, 29 Landrace × Large White nulliparous sows were fed gestation diets containing 23.4 [high fiber (HF); n = 15] or 13.3% total dietary fiber [low fiber (LF); n = 14]. In the HF diet, wheat and barley were partly replaced by soybean hulls, wheat bran, sunflower meal (undecorticated), and sugar beet pulp. After parturition, sows were fed a standard lactation diet. Colostrum production was estimated during 24 h, starting at the onset of parturition (T0) and ending at 24 h after parturition (T24) based on piglet weight gains. Jugular blood samples were collected from sows on d 101 of pregnancy, daily from d 111 of gestation to d 3 of lactation, and then on d 7 and 21 of lactation (d 0 being the day of parturition). Postprandial kinetics of plasma glucose and insulin concentrations were determined on d 112 of pregnancy. The feeding treatment did not influence sow colostrum yield (3.9 ± 0.2 kg) or piglet weight gain during the first day postpartum to d 21 of lactation. Colostrum intake of low birth weight piglets (< 900 g) was greater in litters from HF sows than from LF sows (216 ± 24 vs. 137 ± 22 g; P = 0.02). Preweaning mortality was lower in HF than LF litters (6.2 vs. 14.7%; P = 0.01). Circulating concentrations of progesterone, prolactin, estradiol-17β, and cortisol were not influenced by the treatment. Sows fed the HF diet had greater postprandial insulin concentrations than LF sows (P = 0.02) whereas the postprandial glucose peak was similar. At T24, colostrum produced by HF sows contained 29% more lipid than colostrum produced by LF sows (P = 0.04). Immunoglobulin A concentrations in colostrum were lower at T0 and T24 (P = 0.02) in HF than LF sows (at T0: 8.6 ± 1.1 vs. 11.9 ± 1.1 mg/mL; at T24: 2.5 ± 0.7 vs. 4.8 ± 0.7 mg/mL). In conclusion, dietary fiber in late pregnancy affected sow colostrum composition but not colostrum yield, increased colostrum intake of low birth weight piglets, and decreased preweaning mortality, but these effects were not related to changes in peripartum concentrations of the main hormones involved in lactogenesis.

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