Feeding strategies for the lactating sow must aim to achieve high piglet survival and growth rates and maximise subsequent reproductive performance of the sow. Feeding less frequently and feeding ad libitum may be ways of reducing disturbance and crushing of piglets, enhancing milk yield and maintaining sow body condition to enhance subsequent performance. High protein diets may encourage sows to utilise body fat reserves for milk production without compromising rebreeding. This experiment was designed to investigate these possibilities in commercial practice.
100 Camborough hybrid sows were allocated to one of 4 dietary treatments:
1)ration fed with the daily allocation divided between two feeds
2)ration fed with the total daily allocation given in one feed
3)fed ad libitum on the standard diet (CP 150 g/kg)
4)fed ad libitum on a high protein diet (CP 180 g/kg).
The feeding scale for the ration fed sows, based on commercial farm practice, was as follows: 2.5 kg on days 1-3, 3.5 kg on days 4-5, 5.0 kg on days 6-9 and 7.0 kg/day thereafter.
The experimental diets were based on barley and soya, with the higher protein diet obtained by substituting an additional 75 g/kg of barley with soyabean meal.