CANADA - A nutritionist with the Prairie Swine Centre says the inclusion of soluble fibre in the diets of gestating sows will increase their comfort level and reduce their instinct to fight over feed, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Scientists with the Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Prairie Swine Centre and the University of Saskatchewan, working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc are attempting increase sow milk yield and piglet growth through the use of low-cost feeding and management strategies.
Dr Denise Beaulieu, a research scientist nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre, explains if we overfeed the sow she'll get too fat and have problems with piglet development and farrowing but if we limit feed there will be issues with aggression so providing a diet that makes her feel full longer will offer several benefits.
Dr Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre:
We know that increased fibre intake during gestation does have some positive effects on both limiting aggression and encouraging feed intake right after farrowing in early lactation.
We also know that specific types of fibre that have increased solubility versus non-soluble fibre, those have different effects on the physiology of the animal and can affect how prolonged this feeling of satiety is.
What is not known is how some types of processing, for example hydrothermal processing with various amounts of steam or heat and things like that can affect the solubility of the fibre so could extend this feeling of satiety while we still hopefully get the benefits of the fibre.
The optimal outcome would be very low cost feeding strategies so low cost fibre but, by processing it, we could have the benefits of some of the other fibre sources.
Dr Beaulieu says this information could probably be translated fairly soon for producers feeding sows and hoping to make them feel more comfortable but especially for producers who are transitioning to group housing this will provide an opportunity to allow for decreased aggression and increased milk production, especially during early lactation.
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