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Peter Kappel Theil

Effect of dietary protein intake on energy utilization and feed efficiency of lactating sows

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  • Trine Friis Pedersen
  • ,
  • Ching Yu Chang
  • ,
  • Nathalie L. Trottier, Michigan State University
  • ,
  • Thomas Sønderby Bruun, SEGES Danish Pig Research Center
  • ,
  • Peter Kappel Theil

The objective of the current study was to quantify loss of energy in feces, urine, heat, and milk, to evaluate feed efficiency and to evaluate optimal ratio of dietary CP to energy for lactating sows fed increasing dietary CP. A total of 72 sows were included in the experiment from day 2 after parturition until weaning at day 28. Sows were allocated to 6 dietary treatments formulated to be isocaloric (9.8 MJ NE/kg) and increasing standardized ileal digestible (SID) CP (11.8, 12.8, 13.4, 14.0, 14.7, and 15.6% SID CP). Sows were weighed and back fat scanned within 2 d after farrowing, at days 18 ± 3 and 28 ± 3. Litters were standardized to 14 piglets within 2 d after farrowing and weighed at day 1 or 2 and at days 11, 18, and 28 (within ± 3 d). Feed intake (feed supply minus residue) was registered, and milk, urine, and fecal samples were collected at days 4, 11, and 18 (within ± 3 d). Sow milk yield was estimated from litter gain and litter size, and sow heat production was calculated factorially. On days 4 and 18 (±3 d), sows were enriched with D2O (deuterated water) to estimate body protein and fat pool size. Overall, sow BW loss, back fat loss, fat and protein mobilization, litter size, and piglet performance were not affected by diets, except for sows fed treatment 5, which had lower ADFI and lower milk production, and a tendency to lower piglet ADG compared with the remaining treatment groups (P < 0.01, P = 0.03, P =0.08, respectively). Relative to GE intake, the energy excreted in urine increased from 3.3% to 5.3% (P < 0.001), whereas energy lost as heat increased numerically from 54.5% to 59.0% with increasing dietary CP. The feed efficiency as evaluated by NE corrected for body mobilization peaked when sows were fed at their requirement (treatment 2; 12.8% SID CP; P = 0.01), whereas the feed efficiency was 1% lower for treatment 1, whereas it was 3% to 6% lower for treatments 3 through 6. In conclusion, energy loss in urine and likely also energy lost as heat increase if the dietary protein to energy ratio is unbalanced, and evaluating feed efficiency of lactating sows by correcting for body mobilization seems to be a promising approach to improve sow feeding in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Pages (from-to)779-793
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

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