Body composition at farrowing and nutrition during lactation affect the performance of primiparous sows. I. Voluntary feed intake, weight loss and plasma metabolites

D.K. Revell, Ian Williams, B.P. Mullan, J.L. Ranford, R.J. Smits

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    We used 35 primiparous sows to investigate the link between body fatness at farrowing and voluntary feed intake (VFI) during lactation. Two groups of sows were fed differently throughout gestation (either 2.3 kg/d of a diet containing 5.8% CP and 14.6 MJ DE/kg as fed or 1.7 kg/d of a diet containing 15.6% CP and 14.5 MJ DE/kg as fed) so that they commenced lactation at a similar body weight (158 to 152 kg) but with different body compositions: either 340 (fat) or 280 (lean) g of body fat/kg BW (P <.001). During lactation, sows were offered either a low-protein diet (7.9% CP and 15.5 MJ DE/kg as fed) or a high-protein diet (19.0% CP and 15.6 MJ DE/kg as fed) on an ad libitum basis. During lactation, VFI was measured daily, and sow body weight and backfat were measured weekly. Blood samples were collected from sows on d 110 of gestation and d 14 and 28 of lactation, and plasma was analyzed for NEFA, glycerol, insulin, glucose, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. Fat sows ate 30% less than their lean counterparts during lactation (P <.001), which corresponded to a 70% higher concentration of NEFA in plasma (P = .01) and a 30% higher concentration of glycerol(P = .15). The VFI during the first 2 wk of lactation was affected only by body fatness and not by the protein content of the lactation diet. The dietary supply of protein influenced VFI during wk 3 and 4 of lactation, possibly by affecting milk production and hence the drive to consume feed. Weight loss, particularly lean tissue loss, was minimized by feeding the high-protein diet during lactation (P <.002).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1729-1737
    JournalJournal of Animal Science
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


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