Sows reduce appetite and performance during lactation to minimize heat production when are under heat stress. Concentrate the diet or even reduce protein content are strategies commonly studied. Otherwise, the use of flavors could be beneficial to stimulate feed intake under heat stress. For this trial, 300 hundred sows (Landrace x Large White) of mixed parities were supplemented different levels of feed flavor during lactation and their productive and reproductive performance was evaluated under tropical conditions. Using complete randomized design, the sows were allotted to 3 dietary treatments: control diet (T1) and other two diets with different levels of inclusion (T2 = 250 and T3 = 500 g/ton) of a feed flavor during 24 d lactation and during weaning-to-oestrus interval (WEI). The ambient temperatures and relative humidity measured daily were minimum and maximum (average) 17.4 and 34.7 °C, and 38.0% and 93.8%, respectively.
The flavor influenced the sows voluntary feed intake. Level T3 showed a higher intake than T2 and higher than T1 (6.60 vs. 6.02 vs. 5.08 kg/d, respectively). The higher flavor level of inclusion (T3) showed a +9.6% higher feed intake than T2 sows. The sows from T3 increased number of weaned piglets compared to T2 and T1 (13.45 vs. 13.07 vs. 12.95, respectively). Litter daily gain was affected by the treatment as litters from T3 sows showed a higher daily gain than T2 and T1 (3.37 vs. 2.75 vs. 2.58 kg/d, respectively). The weaning weight was also higher for piglets from T3 sows than T2 and T1 (7.00 vs. 6.16 vs. 5.86 kg, respectively). Calculated daily milk production was higher in the T3 than T2 and T1 fed sows (12.99 vs. 9.55 vs. 8.59 kg/d, respectively). Evidence for differences was not detected across treatments for the weaning-to-oestrus interval, which averaged 4.3 d. Treatments influenced the respiratory frequency as T3 sows had higher respiratory rate than T2 and T1 (82.7 vs. 79.6 vs. 65.4 movements/min, respectively). Similarly, the rectal temperatures for T1 sows showed lower values when compared to T2 and T3 fed sows (38.8 vs. 39.1 vs. 39.3 °C, respectively).
In conclusion, the strategic use of feed flavor to stimulate sows voluntary feed intake can benefit milk production and improve litter performance, which can help reduce the negative effects of heat stress conditions on the lactating sow.
Silva, B. A. N., Tolentino, R. L. S., Eskinazi, S., Jacob, D. V., Raidan, F. S. S., Albuquerque, T. V., Olivera, N. C., Araujo, G. G. A., Silva, K. F. and Alcici, P. F. (2018). Evaluation of feed flavor supplementation on the performance of lactating high-prolific sows in a tropical humid climate. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 236, 141-148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2017.12.005