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The Peripartum Sow Marathon–Can a Sow Transition Feed Help?


The peripartum sow undergoes a marathon of physiological changes from late pregnancy through parturition in preparation for lactation and is a period of high stress and inflammation. A transition feed for peripartum sows provided from late pregnancy through early lactation can provide more precise targeted nutrition and ingredients known to attenuate the oxidative and inflammatory stress associated with parturition. Spray-Dried Plasma (SDP) in feed for pregnant mice attenuated uterine inflammation and in lactating sow feed improved feed intake and litter weight at weaning. A study using 452 sows at a commercial farm was done to determine the effects of 0, 0.5% or 2.5% SDP in transition feed on sow productivity and serology parameters when fed around parturition and to determine the long-term effects on sow productivity to the next parturition. Transition feed was offered at 3 kg/day from day of entry in maternity through day of parturition, then at 4.5 kg/day from day 1 to 5 of lactation. Thereafter sows were fed a common lactation diet to weaning and a common gestation diet from weaning to the next parturition. During the initial parturition sows fed transition diets with 0.5% or 2.5% SDP had a lower percentage and number of stillborn pigs per litter. Serum glutathione peroxidase activity in sows collected 2 days before and 4 days after parturition increased linearly with increased SDP in transition feed. Total and live born pigs per litter in the subsequent parturition of parity 1 and 2 sows increased linearly with increased SDP in transition feed. In conclusion providing highly prolific sows with transition feed containing SDP has merit for reducing stillborn pigs, possibly due to reduced oxidative stress around parturition, and can have a long-term benefit for increasing subsequent litter size of parity 1 and 2 sows.

Joe Crenshaw*, Javier Polo, Joy Campbell

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