Addition of Fat to Diets of Lactating Sows. I. Effects on Sow and Pig Performance

University of Nebraska 1995 Swine Day Report. Sow energy intake during lactation is an important factor to consider when trying to maximize sow and pig performance. It has been shown that inadequate energy intake during lactation results in decreased litter weaning weight. Poor energy intake during lactation is also thought to result in a reduction in postweaning reproductive performance by extending the period from weaning to rebreeding. This reduction in postweaning performance is typically preceded by the excessive loss of weight and backfat during lactation. One method that has been used to increase sow energy intake, and thus alleviate the problems described above is to add dietary fat. The addition of high concentrations of fat (e.g., 7.5 to 15% of the diet) has been shown to result in increased sow energy intake during lactation, and if consumed for approximately one week before farrowing, increased survival rates for pigs with light birthweights. This article reports the effects of high fat diets on sow lactation performance, litter performance, and sow feed and energy intake. A subsequent article will discuss the effects of added dietary fat on energy intake, meal patterns, and blood hormones and metabolites. A specific objective of this research was to determine the effects of dietary fat on milk production and composition.