The mortality rate in piglets could be significantly reduced by adapting the gestating sow’s diet.
Research by Schothorst Feed Research in Lelystad, the Netherlands, showed that feeding a high fat diet to sows during the first half of the gestation period and a diet high in starch and fat in the second half is beneficial to the number of surviving piglets.
The Dutch research showed that the diet influences the mortality rate among newborn piglets, especially in litters over 12 piglets born alive.
By feeding the gestation sows a different diet in the last period compared to the one in the first period of gestation, the sows showed a more efficient glucose metabolism and showed a faster reduction of the blood levels of glucose, which subsequently increases the piglet survival.
The reduction in mortality among the smaller piglets in large litters is encouraging news, according to the researchers.
Because the litters in modern pig farming are getting larger, we now have a tool to prevent the extra piglets from dying after birth.
* Schothorst Feed Research