The selection of hyperprolific sows has increased the heterogeneity of within litter piglet birth weight. Recent studies have confirmed the reality of the presence of immature piglets in large litters. This immaturity is determined very early, since the first days of pregnancy, when the embryo is submitted to high oxidative stress.
The effect of distributing dietary primary and secondary antioxidants to the sow during the weaning‐estrus interval on the degree of maturity of the piglets at birth was studied in a trial concerning contemporary groups of 54 “Test” sows and 13 “Control” sows. The maturity of 924 piglets was recorded at birth, based on morphological and behavioural criteria.
The supply of the antioxidants to the sow during the weaning‐estrus interval significantly reduced both the percentage of immature piglets per litter (8.8 vs 21.1%, P < 0.05) and the within‐litter variation of birth weights. This effect was particularly observed in litters from sows in parities 2 to 5 (average coefficient of variation 20.2% vs 32.9%, P < 0.05).
Y. Le Treut, A. Sacy, E. Chevaux, D. Guillou, F. Desbordes. Effet de la distribution d’antioxydants primaires et secondaires à la truie en période de sevrage‐oestrus sur les caractéristiques des porcelets à la naissance. 2013. Journées Recherche Porcine, 45, 75-76.