Skip to main content Accessibility help

Estimation of colostrum intake in the neonatal pig

  • N. Devillers (a1), J. van Milgen (a1), A. Prunier (a1) and J. Le Dividich (a1)


Three trials were performed in order to establish a method of estimation of colostrum intake based on weight gain in newborn pigs. The first trial involved 33 piglets, bottle-fed with sow colostrum and weighed regularly for 25 h. A regression equation relating colostrum intake (CI in g) to birth weight (BWB in kg), weight at CI estimation (BW in kg), age at first suck (tFS in min) and duration of colostrum intake (t in min and with 17 h < t < 25 h) was established with a root mean-square error equal to 33 g. This equation was evaluated with a second data set using 15 further bottle-fed piglets (trial 2). Measured and predicted values were very close (R2 = 0.90). The third trial compared colostrum intake estimated either with the previous equation or with the deuterium oxide dilution method in catheterized sow-reared or bottle-fed piglets (no. = 12 per group). The equation underestimated colostrum intake of those piglets, probably due to prior surgery. However, the feeding method (bottle-feeding v. sow-rearing) had no effect on the relationship between weight gain and colostrum intake. Therefore, the equation established in bottle-fed piglets may be applied to sow-reared piglets.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Association of Official Analytical Chemists. 1990. Official methods of analysis, 15th edition. AOAC, Washington, DC.
Bibby, J. and Toutenburg, H. 1977. Prediction and improved estimation in linear models. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester.
Bourne, F. J. 1969. Studies on colostral and milk whey proteins in the sow. I. The transition of mammary secretion from colostrum to milk with natural suckling. Animal Production 11: 337343.
Bourne, F. J. and Curtis, J. 1973. The transfer of immunoglobins IgG, IgA and IgM from serum to colostrum and milk in the sow. Immunology 24: 157162.
Burrin, D. G., Dudley, M. A., Reeds, P. J., Shulman, R. J., Perkinson, S. and Rosenberger, J. 1994. Feeding colostrum rapidly alters enzymatic activity and the relative isoform abundance of jejunal lactase in neonatal pigs. Journal of Nutrition 124: 23502357.
Campbell, R. G. and Dunkin, A. C. 1983. The effects of energy intake and dietary protein on nitrogen retention, growth performance, body composition and some aspects of energy metabolism of baby pigs. British Journal of Nutrition 49: 221230.
Coward, W. A. 1988. Stable isotopic methods for measuring energy expenditure. The doubly-labelled-water (2H218O) method: principles and practice. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 47: 209218.
Dove, H. and Freer, M. 1979. The accurancy of tritiated water turnover rate as an estimate of milk intake in lambs. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 30: 725739.
Dyck, G. W. and Swierstra, E. E. 1987. Causes of death from birth to weaning. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 67: 543547.
Fraser, D. 1980. A review of the behavioural mechanism of milk ejection of the domestic pig. Applied Animal Ethology 6: 247255.
Gordon, G. O. and Whittier, E. O. 1965. Proteins of milk. In Fundamentals of dairy chemistry (ed. Webb, B. H. and Johnson, A. H.), pp. 5490. AVI Publishing Co. Inc., Westport, Connecticut.
Guthrie, H. D. 1985. Control of time of parturition in pigs. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, Supplement 33: 229244.
Haggarty, P., Franklin, M. F., Fuller, M. F., McGaw, B. A., Milne, E., Duncan, G., Christie, S. L. and Smith, J. S. 1994. Validation of the doubly labeled water method in growing pigs. American Journal of Physiology 267: R1574-R1588.
Haggarty, P., McGaw, B. A. and Franklin, M. F. 1988. Measurement of fractionated water loss and CO2 production using triply labelled water. Journal of Theoretical Biology 134: 291308.
Hemsworth, P. H., Winfield, C. G. and Mullaney, P. D. 1976. A study of the development of teat order in piglets. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 2: 225233.
Herpin, P., Le Dividich, J. and van Os, M. 1992. Contribution of colostral fat to thermogenesis and glucose homeostasis in the newborn pig. Journal of Developmental Physiology 17: 133141.
Jackson, J. R., Hurley, W. L., Easter, R. A., Jensen, A. H. and Odle, J. 1995. Effects of induced or delayed parturition and supplemental dietary fat on colostrum and milk composition in sows. Journal of Animal Science 73: 19061913.
Klaver, J., van Kempen, G. J. M., de Lange, P. G. B., Verstegen, M. W. A. and Boer, H. 1981. Milk composition and daily yield of different milk components as affected by sow condition and lactation/feeding regimen. Journal of Animal Science 52: 10911097.
Klobasa, F., Werhahn, E. and Butler, J. E. 1987. Composition of sow milk during lactation. Journal of Animal Science 64: 14581466.
Le Cozler, Y., Guyomarc’h, C., Pichodo, X., Quinio, P. Y. and Pellois, H. 2002. Factors associated with stillborn and mummified piglets in high prolific sows. Animal Research 51: 261268.
Le Dividich, J. and Herpin, P. 1996. Nutritional significance of colostrum for the newborn pig. Proceedings of the sixth congress of animal science, Evora.
Le Dividich, J., Herpin, P., Mourot, J. and Colin, A. P. 1994. Effect of low fat colostrum on fat accretion and lipogenic enzyme activities in adipose tissue in the 1 day old pig. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 108A: 663671.
Le Dividich, J., Herpin, P., Paul, E. and Strullu, F. 1997. Effect of fat content of colostrum on voluntary colostrum intake and fat utilization in newborn pigs. Journal of Animal Science 75: 707713.
Le Dividich, J. and Noblet, J. 1981. Colostrum intake and thermoregulation in the neonatal pig in relation to environmental temperature. Biology of the Neonate 40: 167174.
Milon, A., Aumaitre, A., Le Dividich, J., Franz, J. and Metzger, J. J. 1983. Influence of birth prematurity on colostrum composition and subsequent immunity of piglets. Annales de Recherches Vétérinaires 14: 533540.
Noblet, J. and Etienne, M. 1986. Effect of energy level in lactating sows on yield and composition of milk and nutrient balance of piglets. Journal of Animal Science 63: 18881896.
Noblet, J. and Etienne, M. 1987. Body composition, metabolic rate and utilization of milk nutrients in suckling piglets. Reproduction, Nutrition, Development 27: 829839.
Noblet, J. and Le Dividich, J. 1981. Energy metabolism of the newborn pig during the first 24 h of life. Biology of the Neonate 40: 175182.
Passillé, A. M. de and Rushen, J. 1989a. Suckling and teat disputes by neonatal piglets. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 22: 2338.
Passillé, A. M. de and Rushen, J. 1989b. Using early suckling behavior and weight gain to identify piglets at risk. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 69: 535544.
Perrin, D. R. 1954. The chemical composition of the colostrum and milk of the sow. Journal of Dairy Research 21: 5562.
Pettigrew, J. E., Cornelius, S. G., Moser, R. L. and Sower, A. F. 1987. A refinement and evaluation of the isotope dilution method for estimating milk intake by piglets. Livestock Production Science 16: 163174.
Pettigrew, J. E., Sower, A. F., Cornelius, S. G. and Moser, R. L. 1985. A comparison of isotope dilution and weigh-suckle-weigh methods for estimating milk intake by pigs. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 65: 989992.
Prawirodigdo, S., King, R. H., Dunkin, A. C. and Dove, H. 1990a. Evaluation of techniques for estimating milk production by sows. 1. Deuterium oxide dilution method for estimating milk intake by piglets. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 3: 135141.
Prawirodigdo, S., King, R. H., Dunkin, A. C. and Dove, H. 1990b. Evaluation of techniques for estimating milk production by sows. 2. Estimating the milk consumption of piglets by the deuterium oxide dilution and weigh-suckle-weigh methods. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 3: 143148.
Randall, G. C. 1972. Observations on parturition in the sow. I. Factors associated with the delivery of the piglets and their subsequent behaviour. Veterinary Record 90: 178182.
Ritz, P., Johnson, P. G. and Coward, W. A. 1994. Measurements of 2H and 18O in body water: analytical considerations and physiological implications. British Journal of Nutrition 72: 312.
Rohde Parfet, K. A. and Gonyou, H. W. 1988. Effect of creep partitions on teat-seeking behavior of newborn piglets. Journal of Animal Science 66: 21652173.
Rudolph, B. C. 1984. Use of deuterium oxide as an estimator of milk intake and body composition of nursing pigs and the effect of oxytocin administration to the dam on early lactational performance. Doctoral thesis, University of Kentucky.
Snedecor, G. W. and Cochran, W. G. 1980. Statistical methods. Iowa University Press, Ames, IA.
Statistical Analysis Systsems Institute. 2000. Software release 8. 01. SAS Institute, Cary, NC.
Theil, P. K., Nielsen, T. T., Kristensen, N. B., Abouriau, R., Nielsen, V., Lauridsen, C. and Jakobsen, K. 2002. Estimation of milk production in lactating sows by determination of deuterated water turnover in three piglets per litter. Acta Agriculturæ Scandinavica, Section A, Animal Science 52: 221232.
Thompson, B. K. and Fraser, D. 1988. Variation in piglet weights: weight gains in the first days after birth and their relationship with later performance. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 68: 581590.
Widdowson, E. M., Colombo, V. E. and Artavanis, C. A. 1976. Changes in the organs of pigs response to feeding for the first 24th after birth. II. The digestive tract. Biology of the Neonate 28: 272281.
Wolfe, R. R. 1992. Radioactive and stable isotope tracers in biomedicine: principles and practice of kinetics analysis. Wiley-Liss, New York.


Estimation of colostrum intake in the neonatal pig

  • N. Devillers (a1), J. van Milgen (a1), A. Prunier (a1) and J. Le Dividich (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed