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Impact of amount and solubility of dietary fiber fed during late gestation and during the pre-farrowing period on sow and litter performance in lactation

Martinez, G., P. Wilcock, E. van Heugten and D. Rosero

This study evaluated the impact of level and solubility of total dietary fiber (TDF) on sow and litter performance when fed during late gestation and early pre-farrowing. Sows (n=241) were assigned by body condition to a 2×2 factorial arrangement plus a control treatment (with no supplement) with the following factors: 1) Amount of a fiber supplement (0.45 or 0.90 kg) and 2) Fiber solubility (high soluble dietary fiber (SDF) of 9.63% with 25.25% insoluble dietary fiber (IDF) or high IDF of 30.73% with 4.18% SDF). Fiber supplements were formulated using sugar beet pulp and soybean hulls and were provided in addition to a common gestation (12.0% TDF) and lactation diet (11.3% TDF) from day 99 (±1 d) of gestation until parturition. Total number of pigs born, and piglet birth weight were not impacted by treatment. Number of stillborn pigs was reduced by 0.45 kg IDF supplement (P=0.03), but it increased (P=0.008) the number of low-birth weight pigs (< 1 kg) compared to control, 0.90 kg IDF, and 0.45 and 0.90 kg SDF supplement (1.31a vs. 0.50b, 0.33b, 0.47b, and 0.40b, respectively). Treatment did not affect number of pigs weaned and pig weaning weight. Number of small-weaned pigs (< 3.6 kg) was lowest (P< 0.001) with 0.90 kg IDF, and 0.45 kg SDF compared to control, 0.45 kg IDF and 0.90 kg SDF (0.53c and 1.00bc vs 3.31a, 3.27a, and 2.00ab, respectively). Weaning to estrus interval was reduced (P=0.003) by 0.90 kg IDF and 0.45 and 0.90 kg SDF compared to control and 0.45 kg IDF (5.00b, 4.77b, and 5.22ab vs. 6.51a, and 6.59a days, respectively).

Results suggest that composition of fiber is important, and that fiber provided as a supplement to the standard feed may be a practical strategy to improve sow performance during the late gestation and the pre-farrowing period.