Effect of feeding liquid milk supplement on litter performances and on sow back-fat thickness change during the suckling period
Abstract. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of liquid milk supplement on litter performance (weight development of the piglets, weaning weight and mortality) and on sow back-fat thickness change during the suckling period.
Data were collected from 150 litters, with the weight of a total of 1709 piglets measured at birth, at 14 days of age and at weaning (28 days), respectively. Sow (n = 150) back-fat depth was measured the day before farrowing, 14 days after farrowing and at weaning. In the control group (n = 363), the piglets were suckled and got pre-starter feed from day 10. In the four experimental groups (MS1; MS2; MS2 and MS4; n = 1346), the piglets received additional milk replacer in various concentrations from the 10th day of life. While there were no significant differences in birth weight between the control and experimental groups, we did find significant differences between the 14-day weights and weaning weights. The milk supplement significantly reduced mortality compared to the control (11.6 vs. 4.9; 5.9, 8.9; 8.3 %). However, there were no statistically significant differences between litter homogeneity data, based on the CV% of piglet weight. Three experimental groups (MS1, MS2 and MS4) were more homogenous compared to the control group at weaning (25.3 vs. 20.9; 20.3; 20.3 CV%). Based on the examination of sow back-fat thickness reduction, there were significant differences between the control (C) and MS3 groups (7.61 vs. 5.57 mm reduction, P < 0.05) during the suckling period. These results demonstrate the advantage of milk replacer on weaning weight. Litter homogeneity, piglet mortality and back-fat thickness of the sows were affected by providing milk replacer to the piglets during the suckling period.