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The effect of L-arginine supplementation in late gestating sows on milk composition and farrowing performance

L-arginine supplementation at late gestation may enhance farrowing performance.

Friday 7 December 2018 (11 months 13 days ago)

During the last decade, studies reported that L-arginine HCl supplementation during gestation increased sow and piglet performances. The objective of the present study was to determine the effect of supplementing L-arginine HCl on sow diet during late gestation on milk composition and piglet performance. 166 sows were allocated into four groups: CON (n=66) fed with a conventional gestation diet (CON), ARG-0.5 (n=42) fed with CON supplemented with 0.5% L-arginine HCl, ARG-1.0 (n=41) supplemented with 1.0% L-arginine HCl, and ALA (n=17), fed with CON with 1.7% L-alanine. Experimental diets were supplied from 85 days of gestation until farrowing. The number of live-born piglets, piglet birth weight (BWB), blood oxygen saturation (SatO2) and heart rate were determined in 2292 newborn piglets from 166 litters. Piglet mortality and body weight was determined at d 7 and 21 of life. Milk yield between d 0–7 and 7–21 and relative backfat loss were estimated in each individual sow. Colostrum consumption of each individual and the colostral concentration of IgG was also determined.

ARG-0.5 group increased the proportion of live-born piglets per litter (+9.8%), reduced stillborn (-8.3%) and tended to increase the proportion of piglets with BWB above 1.35 kg (+6.4%) compared to the ALA group. Compared to the CON group, ARG-0.5 increased BWB (+7.0%) and SatO2 (+3%), reduced heart rate (-20%) and tended to reduce the relative backfat loss (-4.4%). No difference was observed between ARG-1.0 and ARG-0.5. Within-litter variation of BWB, average daily gain, pre-weaning mortality, colostrum consumption and milk yield were not affected by treatment. However, the colostral concentration of IgG at 1h after onset of farrowing in ARG-1.0 sows (116 mg/ml) was higher than CON, ARG-0.5 and ALA sows (85, 74 and 78 mg/ml, respectively).

In conclusion, both dietary rates of L-arginine HCl supplementation in late gestating sows favorably increased proportion of live-born piglets, piglet birth weight and piglet blood oxygen saturation at birth. Moreover, a higher rate of L-arginine HCl (1.0%) increased IgG concentration in the sow colostrum. However, sow milk production was not enhanced.

Nuntapaitoon, M., Muns, R., Theil, P. K., and Tummaruk, P. L-arginine supplementation in sow diet during late gestation decrease stillborn piglet, increase piglet birth weight and increase immunoglobulin G concentration in colostrum. Theriogenology 121 (2018): 27-34.

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