Effects of L-Carnitine supplementation one week prior to farrowing and during lactation on its concentration in milk, return to oestrus and growth performance of piglets

The dietary supplementation with L-Carnitine during late gestation and lactation in sows may increase L-Carnitine level in sow milk, and improve piglets' performance
Thursday 5 March 2009 (9 years 1 months 19 days ago)
Alex Doctor
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of short term L-Carnitine supplementation on its milk concentration, on the return of oestrus and on the growth performance of piglets. A total of 14 crosbreed sows were distributed in two different groups differing in the dietary treatment; a control diet and a supplemented diet with 50 ppm of L-Carnitine.

The concentration of L-Carnitine was evaluated in milk samples from days 0, 2, 3 and 11 post-farrowing. Milk production was also determined on days 1, 7 and 14 and at weaning. The number of piglets born, birth weight, weaning day and the return to oestrus were recorded.

It was observed that the individual birth weight of piglets was higher in the sows fed the L-Carnitine supplemented diet than those fed the control diet (1.43 vs. 1.26; P<0.05). Average daily gain of litters from sows fed the supplemented diets tended to be higher than those fed the control diet (2.23 kg vs. 1.98 kg; P=0.159). Milk production during the first week and at weaning tended to be higher in the sows fed the L-Carnitine supplemented diet and the L-Carnitine concentration tended to be higher in the supplemented group then in the control group (P<0.10). Return to oestrus also tended to be earlier in the L-Carnitine treated group.

It is concluded that the dietary supplementation with L-Carnitine during late gestation and lactation in sows may increase L-Carnitine level in sow milk, and improve piglets' performance.

S Ikeda, M Sato, F Doi, K Muraoka, N Watanabe, S Odo and S Sukemory. 2008. Japanese Journal of Swine Science. 45, 1:1-9.

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