Lisa Mancell explores the benefits of sow nutrition for producing healthy, robust piglets.
We know that nutrition plays a vital role in a sow’s reproductive performance, and to reach her full potential all essential nutrients and vitamins should be in good supply. This is not just about supporting healthy and productive sows on the farm for longer, but also giving their prenatal and newborn piglets the best start in life. That’s why the Farmgate Feeds Sow & Weaner range is balanced with essential nutrients whilst also containing a unique combination of Omega 3, fat soluble vitamins and fibre.
Omega 3 is the name given to the family of essential, unsaturated fatty acids. It is familiar to us all and we know the importance of it in our own diets, but this nutrient also brings many benefits to a sow and her piglets. Pigs can’t produce Omega 3 themselves, so it needs to be supplied as part of a well-balanced diet, which can bring wide-ranging benefits for pig keepers too. Omega 3 fatty acids are involved in the structure and growth of all cells in the animal and as result, there is good evidence to support the important role it has in contributing to healthy litter sizes and weaning weights.
A strong, healthy piglet comes from a strong, viable follicle. The hormone responsible for ensuring a food source is available to the follicles relies on Omega 3 to do its job properly. If Omega 3 fatty acids are in short supply then potentially food to the follicles will be too, not allowing them to grow and potentially impacting litter size. Farmgate’s Sow & Weaner range also contains a combination of vitamins including folic acid and carnitine, which have a positive impact on the reproductive performance of sows as well as improving litter size and birth weights.
We’ve just discussed the importance of essential nutrients to your sow during the gestation period, but it is vital to continue this supply during the critical lactation period.
Colostrum is the first milk produced by the sow and it is full of energy, antibodies and key nutrients. Sow’s only produce colostrum for 24-48 hours, so sufficient early intake and the quality of the colostrum is essential. The first six hours of colostrum intake is one of the most important success factors for pig performance. Optimising sow nutrition during late gestation and throughout the transition period can positively affect key proteins found in sow colostrum. Good quality colostrum will kick start the piglet’s immune system and helps to prevent disease susceptibility. By giving your piglets a strong start alongside promoting good quality milk production you can also expect to see heavier weights at weaning.
At Farmgate Feeds, our Sow & Weaner range is formulated with key ingredients and features to keep your sows healthy and give your piglets the best start in life. Farmgate has an unrivalled range of products suitable for all stages of your pig’s life. This is supported by the Farmgate team’s wealth of knowledge and expertise on all aspects of pig nutrition and welfare.