Impact of four fiber-rich supplements on nutrient digestibility, colostrum production, and farrowing performance in sows

Takele Feyera, Liang Hu, Maria Eskildsen, Thomas S. Bruun, Peter K. Theil

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This study aimed to investigate the impact of dietary fiber (DF) sources on sow and litter performance, and apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of gross energy (GE) and nutrients. A total of 48 sows were stratified for body weight at mating and randomly assigned to one of four DF sources (mixed fiber [MF], palm kernel expellers [PKE], sugar beet pulp [SBP], or soy hulls [SH]) and fed the diet from mating until farrowing. Within DF treatments, sows were supplemented with one of two extra energy sources (glycerol or sugar dissolved in water), whereas a third group (control) received water from day 108 of gestation until farrowing. The number of total born, live-born, and stillborn pigs; birth time and birth weight of the pigs; farrowing duration; and farrowing assistance (FA) were recorded. Live-born pigs were weighed again at 12 and 24 h after birth to record weight gain, which was used to estimate intake and yield of colostrum. Blood samples were collected once daily from day -3 relative to farrowing until day 1 after farrowing in sows and once from selected pigs right after birth. Fecal samples were collected on day 114 of gestation and colostrum at 0, 12, 24, and 36 h after onset of farrowing. Intake of soluble and insoluble nonstarch polysaccharides (NSP) was greater for SBP (P < 0.001) and PKE (P < 0.001) supplemented sows, respectively, when compared with other groups. Farrowing duration and stillbirth rate were not affected by DF sources, but PKE and SH supplemented sows had greater FA than SBP and MF supplemented sows (P < 0.001). Extra energy supplement did not improve the farrowing performance. Concentration (P = 0.02) and output (P = 0.04) of dry matter in colostrum, and ATTD of GE (P < 0.001) and crude protein (CP; P < 0.001) were lower for PKE supplemented sows than in sows from the remaining groups. Intake of insoluble NSP correlated negatively with ATTD of GE (P < 0.001) and CP (P < 0.001). Concentrations of glucose (P < 0.001), lactate (P < 0.001), CO2 (P < 0.001), and HCO3 (P < 0.001) in sows blood were increased with time progress relative to farrowing. Newborn pigs from PKE supplemented sows had greater concentration of lactate (P = 0.02) and lower blood pH (P = 0.02) than the remaining treatments. In conclusion, PKE supplement reduced ATTD of GE and CP, and concentration and output of dry matter in colostrum but increased FA. Results of this experiment indicated that the use of PKE as a fiber source for late gestating sows should be avoided.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberskab247
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • blood biochemical
  • dietary fiber
  • digestibility
  • farrowing kinetics
  • lactation
  • transition sow


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