Optimal feeding of sows in the period of farrowing

The period of farrowing is an area of attention and efforts inside of any farm. Quick farrowing without complications will bring many alive and active piglets, also healthy sows ready to quick recover and productive work during following lactating period

Ideal farrowing

Management in this period have to be focused on minimization of stress factors around the sow.  One of the key factors of ideal farrowing is the way of feeding of the sow. 

New research at the Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, shows that the duration of farrowing increased with increasing time from the sow’s last meal until farrowing began. The results are based on a study at AU Foulum.

Researchers managed to reach quicker farrowings (around 3,3 hours) and less number of stillborn piglets (3,7%). Reason of these improvements is minimization of time of the last feeding before the farrowing started (three hours). In the research were included 166 farrowings, with the sows giving birth to a total of 2889 piglets.

Explanation of this is a big demand of energy prior to and during the farrowing. If sow get feed 5 or 6 hours before farrowing, she is becoming tired quickly and does not have enough of power to finish farrowing. This is leading to high number of weak and stillborn piglets. This kind of sows often need help with farrowing, which creates extra risk for infection penetration. Recover time after farrowing is longer.

As a conclusion of the trial is feeding of sows at least three times a day before farrowing. Feeding  4 times is even better, if this is possible from technical point. Recommended minimal dose of feed per day until farrowing is 3FU/sow/day.

For more information and dialogue, please contact your Vilomix Nutritionist.

Source: Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University

June 2019