The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of the chemical form of selenium (Se) fed to sows (1) on production and immune quality of colostrum and (2) on piglet response to a deterioration of sanitary conditions after weaning. Twenty-two pregnant sows were assigned to receive a diet supplemented with 0.3 ppm Se from either sodium selenite (inorganic Se) or Se-enriched yeast (organic Se as Sel-Plex®; Alltech Inc., Nicholasville, KY, USA). Dietary treatments were applied during the last month of pregnancy and lactation. Blood samples were collected on sows before dietary treatment, on the day of weaning and 6 weeks later, and on three to five piglets within litters at birth, at weaning and 6 weeks post weaning. Whole blood was analysed for Se concentration. Colostrum samples were collected at 0, 3, 6 and 24 h post partum and milk samples on days 14 and 27 of lactation. Colostrum and milk were analysed for Se and immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentrations. At weaning, 40 pairs of littermate piglets were moved to rooms where sanitary conditions were good or purposely deteriorated. Piglets were reared individually and fed ad libitum. After 15 days, piglets and feed refusals were weighed and a blood sample was collected to measure plasma haptoglobin concentration. When sows were fed organic Se, Se concentrations were increased by 33% in colostrum (P < 0.05), 89% in milk (P < 0.001) and by 28% in whole blood of piglets at weaning (P < 0.001). Colostrum production during the 24 h after the onset of farrowing and IgG concentrations in colostrum and milk did not significantly differ between the two groups of sows. Weaned piglets reared in good sanitary conditions grew faster (P < 0.001) than piglets housed in poor conditions. Sanitary conditions did not influence mean plasma haptoglobin concentrations of piglets (P > 0.1). The source of Se fed to the dams did not influence piglet performance or haptoglobin concentrations after weaning. These findings confirm that, compared with inorganic Se, organic Se fed to the dam is better transferred to colostrum and milk, and consequently to piglets. They indicate that the Se source influences neither colostrum production nor IgG concentrations in colostrum, and that the higher Se contents of piglets does not limit the reduction of growth performance when weaning occurs in experimentally deteriorated sanitary conditions.