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.