Feeding higher levels of lipids during late gestation and lactation may be an effective way to improve the performance of the offspring born to primiparous sows, which are born lighter, grow slower, and have higher rates of mortality than progeny born to multiparous sows. Moreover, dietary conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) have been shown to improve piglets’ growth and survival, and hence may be particularly advantageous to gilt progeny. It was hypothesized that gilt progeny would benefit further from this feeding strategy due to their lower birth weights and reduced absorption of IgG from colostrum in comparison to sow progeny, with improvements in pre-weaning survival due to increased energy stores around birth and higher concentrations of IgG in colostrum and milk, resulting in improved immunity. Therefore, the aim of the current experiment was to assess the effect of feeding CLA and MCFA, alone or in combination, in late gestation and lactation to primiparous and multiparous sows on the growth and survival of their litters. For that purpose, a total of 129 primiparous sows and 123 multiparous sows (parities 3 and 4) were allotted into one of four diets from day 107 of gestation (107.3 ± 0.1 days) until weaning (day 27.2 ± 0.1 of lactation): (i) control diet; (ii) 0.5% CLA diet; (iii) 0.1% MCFA diet; and (iv) 0.5% CLA + 0.1% MCFA diet. Progeny performance data were collected and, from a subset of sows (n = 78) and their piglets (n = 144), a colostrum (day 0), milk (day 21), and piglet serum sample (day 3) were analyzed for immunoglobulin G alongside with selected metabolites.
As a result, born-alive piglet pre-weaning mortality tended to be lower in piglets from sows fed 0.5% CLA. However, these sows had more stillborn piglets than those on the other diets. There were few effects of the diet on other parameters. Overall, feeding CLA or MCFA failed to improve reproductive performance of primiparous or multiparous sows or the performance of their litters during lactation, and there was no added benefit of feeding these products for gilt progeny. However, feeding CLA alone improved the survival of sow progeny.
Craig, J. R., Dunshea, F. R., Cottrell, J. J., Ford, E. M., Wijesiriwardana, U. A., & Pluske, J. R. (2019). Feeding conjugated linoleic acid without a combination of medium-chain fatty acids during late gestation and lactation improves pre-weaning survival rates of gilt and sow progeny. Animals, 9(2), 62. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020062