Scientists from Aarhus University’s Research Centre Foulum have developed a pig model that can provide answers to how pregnant and lactating sows should be fed to improve their milk production. The model, which is the first of its kind in the world, is expected to provide knowledge that makes it possible to reduce piglet mortality.
The way the model works is that catheters are operated into selected sows. This permits the scientists to extract samples from several different locations in the sow’s body. The catheters are operated into the sows approximately one and a half months before expected farrowing thus permitting the scientists to investigate sow metabolism during pregnancy and lactation.
With the aid of the model the scientists can study how nutrients are metabolised in the various organs and how the individual nutrients are metabolised to milk production. In other words, they can measure what happens to each nutrient inside the sow. The model will provide new insight into the mechanisms that control the distribution and application of the nutrients in the sow. This is the first time ever that this kind of investigation is being carried out.
The model permits scientist to observe how different feeding strategies affect the production of colostrum and milk. There are several indications that present feeding strategies do not consider colostrum production well enough. The scientists expect that the pig model will provide knowledge to enable improvement of feeding during lactation.
Aarhus University/ Denmark.