The transfer of passive immunity from sow to piglet is important for neonatal disease resistance. Piglet immune status will be influenced by the Ig concentration in colostrum, the amount of colostrum ingested and the duration of absorption of intact macromolecules across the gut. Despite the importance of the maternal contribution to this process, there has been no published information on the level and variability of colostral Ig concentration in modern sow geno types. A study was therefore designed to remedy this lack of knowledge.
Colostrum samples were taken at farrowing, prior to suckling by the first piglet, from 63 Landrace x Large White sows (Pig Improvement Company Ltd) on a large commercial unit in Scotland. During pregnancy, sows were housed in stalls and fed a standard commercial dry sow diet. At 2-3 weeks prior to expected parturition, they were vaccinated against E.coli, A.pleuropneumoniae and Clostridium.