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Impact of amount and solubility of dietary fiber fed during late gestation and during the pre-farrowing period on sow serum chemistry and piglet vitality index

Martinez, G., S. Leonard, P. Wilcock and D. Rosero

This study evaluated the impact of level and solubility of total dietary fiber (TDF) when fed to sows during late gestation and early pre-farrowing on serum chemistry, glucose status and farrowing characteristics. Sows were assigned to a control with no supplement, or a supplement provided once per day at either 0.45 or 0.90 kg. The fiber supplement consisted of either a high soluble dietary fiber (SDF) formulation (9.63% SDF, and 25.25% of insoluble dietary fiber (IDF)) or a high IDF formulation (30.73% IDF and 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 (11.30% TDF) from day 99 (±1 d) of gestation until parturition. Blood samples were collected from sows on day 110 of gestation immediately prior to the morning feeding, and 2 and 4 hours after feeding for the analysis of serum chemistry and glucose status, comparing the control and the 0.90 kg SDF and IDF treatments (n=15 sows). Serological results were within expected ranges. Supplementation with SDF, but not IDF, decreased concentrations of γ-glutamyl transferase (P=0.003) compared to the control (32.20 vs 39.20 and 44.02 IU/L, respectively) and magnesium tended (P=0.09) to increase with fiber supplementation. Glucose concentrations measured with a hand-held glucose meter were not affected by time relative to feeding, fiber supplementation, or their interaction (P=0.94). A pilot study evaluated the impact of the amount of fiber supplemented and the composition of fiber on total duration of fetal expulsion and piglet vitality index (PVI) using video equipment. The PVI scale ranged from 0-3 where 0= no movement, no breathing; and 3= good movement, breathing, and able to stand within 1 minute or less. Cameras (n=12) were placed in the farrowing room the day sows were transferred from gestation (112±1 d). Duration of fetal expulsion ranged from 2.36 to 11.0 hours but was not influenced by fiber supplementation. Partial correlation analysis revealed a negative relationship between the birth interval and PVI (r = -0.24; P= 0.003) and total duration of fetal expulsion and PVI (r = -0.53; P< 0.001), irrespective of treatments.

Results suggest that fiber supplementation did not affect serum chemistry and glucose status of sows during late gestation. The pilot study suggested a negative association of duration of fetal expulsion with PVI, but these were not affected by dietary fiber.