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Phase Feeding Pregnant Sows Saves on Feed Costs, Improve Performance

07 April 2014
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - A nutritionist with the Prairie Swine Centre says, by adjusting the rations of the sow to account for changing nutritional requirements during pregnancy, the farmer can improve her performance while at the same time saving on feed costs.

"Phase Feeding In Gestation" was among the topics discussed last week as part of the Prairie Swine Centre's 2014 series of producer meetings.

Dr Denise Beaulieu, a research scientist nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre, explains phase feeding refers to changing the diet of the sow during the different phases of gestation.

Dr Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre:

The requirements for fetal development change throughout gestation so what we're really trying to do is to feed the animal for her specific needs as she grows or as the requirements change throughout gestation.

Early on in gestation the fetal development is quite slow.

The young piglets developing inside of the sow really aren't growing at a rapid rate of gain however, in the last few weeks of gestation, that's when you see a marked increase so the sow just requires more energy.

However most of that deposit of tissue is primarily protein so the lysine to energy ratio or the lysine to other amino acid ratios actually go up as well.

This is why, when we're phase feeding, we would certainly recommend if a producer can not accommodate different diets at the very least to increase the amount of feed offered to the sow in the last month of gestation but even better than that would be to reformulate the diet and to have one diet throughout most of gestation but a different diet for the last three or four weeks of gestation.

Dr Beaulieu recommends at least two phases, one in early gestation and one in late, to more precisely match the nutrient content of the diet to the nutrient requirements of the sow for foetal development.

For more on phase feeding during gestation, visit the Prairie Swine Centre web site at

ThePigSite News Desk

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