A litter with many piglets requires well-considered management around the time of the birth. To prepare the sow for the optimal lactation period, crucial groundwork must be completed during the last third of the pregnancy.
At this time, the feed must provide all additional nutrients for the rapidly growing foetuses. And this alone is not enough: the mammary gland tissues also need nutrients to grow. And right before the birth, the formation of colostrum must be monitored. Reducing the amount of feed too much or for too long before and after birth is disadvantageous. If the sow gets into a metabolic situation with a catabolic character due to nutrient deficiencies so that its own tissues start to break down, this results in the increased formation of metabolic products. These metabolic products have a negative effect on the sow’s health: it often results in metabolic stress.
Piglets need colostrum
The amount and quality of colostrum play a decisive role. Piglets need 250 to 300 grams of colostrum as a life elixir and to build up their immune system. The production of colostrum starts 14 days before birth and ends with the birth of the piglets. The piglets receive the colostrum in the first two days after birth. The more colostrum is formed, the more weight can be gained in the first two days after birth. The formation of mature milk starts after the colostrum phase, where the amount of milk is now regulated hormonally through supply and demand. Energetic piglets increase their sucking, the mammary glands are completely emptied and the sucking then produces more milk.
Increasing weight gains of suckling pigs
Plant-based products can naturally boost the amount of colostrum and milk. Relevant tests have shown that the use of special vegetable components in the lactation feed can increase the weight gains of suckling pigs by 15 per cent in the first two days after birth. When the weaning starts, the weight gains of the litter can be up to 6.2 kilograms higher.
In studies, the functional nutrients contained in the sow’s lactation feed showed a stimulating effect on the formation and reproduction of the mammary gland cells as well as on their lifespan. The antioxidant effect supports the metabolic processes related to the birth and contributes correspondingly to maintaining the sow’s health. The feeding concept for lactation is started a few days before the birth and continues until the end of the suckling period to boost the amount of colostrum and milk.