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Peter Kappel Theil

Transition feeding of sows

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearch

The transition period from late gestation to early lactation is rather short, but it is nonetheless of major importance for the productivity of high-prolific sows. The transition period, here defined as the last 10 d of gestation and the first 10 d of lactation, encompasses substantial changes for the sow. More specifically, fetal growth, mammary growth, colostrum production and sow maintenance require substantial amounts of nutrients during late gestation. After parturition, nutrients are mainly required for milk synthesis and sow maintenance, but the regressing uterus supplies considerable amounts of amino acids to the blood. The physiology of the sow ensures that nutrient transfer to the offspring is not being compromised and that nutrients are preferentially being allocated to uterine tissues before parturition and to the udder after parturition. During the transition period, the sow becomes catabolic due to the high priority of milk production and to current feeding practices. Indeed, feed is changed from a gestation to a lactation diet for most sows and the feed supply typically goes from a restricted supply to an ad libitum allowance. In addition, transition sows are often exposed to shifts in housing, and in Europe, this shift is now associated with a change from loose group housing to individual housing. Around parturition, colostrum is being secreted and milk synthesis is initiated in the mammary glands. After the onset of lactation, milk composition changes, especially during the first few days of lactation, and milk yield increases throughout the transition period and becomes the most important determinant of nutrient requirements. Thus, nutrient requirements of transition sows are affected by many intrinsic factors and these requirements change rapidly, yet, sow feeding practices do not acknowledge these changes. Development of new feeding strategies specifically adapted for the transition sow is likely of importance to match the rapid changes in nutrient requirements.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe gestating and lactating sow
EditorsChantal Farmer
Number of pages26
Place of publicationThe Netherlands
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Publication year2015
ISBN (print) 978-90-8686-253-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Bogkapitel, så intet specifikt project. 4.2-2016/metm

    Research areas

  • colostrum synthesis, protein, periparturient sow, nutrient requirement, mammary secreta

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