Dietary fibre for sows Effects of large amounts of soluble and insoluble fibres in the pregnancy period on the performance of sows during three reproductive cycles

Vestergaard, E.M.; Danielsen, V.

Animal Science 67(2): 355-362


DOI: 10.1017/s1357729800010134
Accession: 030916433

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One hundred and twenty crossbred gilts and sows were used in an experiment with three differently composed pregnancy diets in order to study the effects on performance during three reproduction cycles. Treatments during pregnancy were: (1) a standard diet, (2) 500 g sugar-beet pulp per kg diet; (3) 500 g mixture of green grass-meal, wheat bran and oat hulls per kg diet. Sows were given similar levels of estimated daily net energy (NE). All three groups were given the same standard lactation diet semi-ad libitum in two daily meals. Recordings were made of food intake during pregnancy and lactation, body weight of sows at mating, farrowing and weaning, days until first mating, litter size, and mean piglet weight at birth and weaning. Pregnancy food intake (kg) was highest in diet 3 and lowest in diet 1 (P < 0.001). Food intake was lower for sows given diet 2 than for sows given diets 1 and 3, when measured in NE for pigs (P < 0.001). Food intake during lactation was higher for sows given diet 2, than for sows in the two other diet groups (P < 0.01). Results were consistent during all three experimental rounds. Mean body weight of sows was the same for all diet groups both at mating, farrowing and weaning. Weight gain during pregnancy and weight loss at farrowing was significantly higher in groups 2 and 3 than in group I (P < 0.001). Litter size was not affected by the different pregnancy diets, neither total number live born nor weaned. Both mean piglet weight and total mean litter weight at birth were negatively influenced by diet 2 (P < 0.001) and (P< 0.05) respectively. This indicates that a diet with a high content of soluble dietary fibre and a large capacity to induce satiety may have a negative effect on piglet weight at birth. At weaning, however, the mean weights of piglets were the same for the three diet groups. It was concluded, that it is possible to feed pregnant sows very differently composed diets without detrimental effects on performance.