Do your sows have enough energy around farrowing?

The feedamount and energy level has a great impact on the upcomming farrowing

The sows energylevel (amount of blood sugar) before farrowing is very important to avoid long farrowing. If the sows bloodsugar level is low before farrowing it will take longer time to give birth and there is an increased risk of delivering deadborn piglets. In addition to this there is more work hours used by giving birth help with an increased risk of infection. New trials on Foulum (Danish agirculture research center) have shown that if there is more than 9 hours from the last feeding before farrowing the blood sugar level falls to a critical low 2mmol/l. If the sow is farrowing 6 hours after the last feeding the blood sugar level reaches 4 mmol/l, which is an acceptable level. This could possibly lead to a solution of having more feedings before farrowing, but this can increase the risk of crushed piglets under farrowing.

Focus should overall be on if the sows get enough energy before farrowing. The table below shows VSP's guidlines for the feed curve for sows in farrowing stable. As appears on the feedcurve it is recommended to lower the feedamount to 3 FU and 2,5 FU 2 days before farrowing.

Farrowing stable

Guideline for feedcurve - VSP

Day -21 (3 weeks before farrowing) 3,50 FU/day
Day -2 3,00 FU/day
Day -1 2,50 FU/day
Day 0 (farrowing) 2,00 FU/day
Day 1-7 + 0,50 FU/day
Day 8-9 + 0,25 FU/day
Day 9-14 + 0,50 FU/day
After ad libitum, but not more than 10-11 FU/day
Day 18-34 10 FU/day

This recommendation does include some pitfalls. If the sow is farrowing 2-3 days later than expected, the risk of undersupplying the sow with energy is increased. If you instead of this lower the feedamount when you see milk in the sow's udder as it is about to farrow you will reduce the risk of energy deficiency. Notes that some sows may "cheat".

It is important that the responsible for the farrowing stable workers are able to see when the sow is starting to produce milk and act accordingly.

Compared to lowering the feedamount early it is important to know that it can also affect growth of the embryo as this primarily takes place 10-12 days before farrowing.

A simple strategy can therefore be not lowering the feedamount! Let the amount of feed stay be on 3,5 FU level until farrowing. When the sow lays down and goes into labor the amount of feed is reduced to 2,5 FU. After this you should follow the recommended feed curve above. By doing this you will reduce the time of farrowing and get less deadborn piglets because the sow has enough energy. Never the less you should be aware of an increased risk of farrowing fever.

If you are using a pre-farrowing feed with high amount of beet pulp as compound feed or addition to the feed, you may have to go 0,5-1 FU lower than recommended 3,5 FU until farrowing. This is because of the high water absorbability when using beet pulp which fills up the gastrointestinal system.

How can the energy level be raised before farrowing?

Some are experimenting with an extra energy supplements to raise the sow's energy level before farrowing. ViloBoost is our suggestion to give the sows an energy boost wich makes a good start for the sows.

Are you already optimizing on the feed amount ViloBoost can boost your sows' energy level even more!

If you want to focus more on the sows' energy level before farrowing and your overall feed strategy, contact your Vilomix nutritionist and lets have a talk about it.


April 2017