5 tips for feeding sows during the weaning-oestrus period


The weaning-oestrus interval is described as the number of days between weaning and the first day on which heat is observed. This period is a critical time in the sow’s life for rearing newly weaned sows to ensure sow reproductive performance and maintain herd productivity. Due to high nutrient requirements during lactation, sows can lose weight, leading to delayed estrus, increased non-productive days, decreased longevity and compromised follicular quality.

The following tips on feeding sows during the weaning-oestrus period will improve their reproductive performance and overall herd profitability.

Consider specific nutrients rather than just a complete diet

Many pig farmers practice complete feeding of sows after weaning to recover body reserves lost during lactation and ensure optimal reproductive performance. However, complete feeding of sows in the immediate post-weaning period leads to increased feed wastage and feed costs and promotes little or no improvements in reproductive performance and offers no benefits. economic to producers. It is recommended to supplement the post-weaning diet with simple sugars such as glucose and dextrose to provide sows with a diet rich in carbohydrates to stimulate follicular development and follicular quality induced by the secretion of insulin and factor insulin growth.

Feeding a high quality diet

When it comes to nutrition, the recipe for success includes everything sows need, including energy, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Without all of these basic elements, sows cannot sustain their needs for growth and maintenance of their bodies and fetal growth. Potential consequences of poor quality nutrition for the breeding herd include decreased conception rates, smaller litters and/or reduced birth weight, lower milk production, increased interval weaning-oestrus and a shortened reproductive lifespan.

Increase power frequency

Feeding sows 2 or more times per day versus once maintains feed freshness and promotes higher consumption. Additionally, increasing sow feeding frequency from 1 to 2 or 3 times per day can reduce the number of stillbirths and increase litter size at weaning.

Allow sows unlimited access to clean water

Water is the most important nutrient for sows, without which they survive only a short time. Maintaining good water quality and easy, unlimited access to clean water promotes higher feed intake and results in healthier sows and increased production efficiency. If there is any doubt about the quality of the drinking water, samples must be taken to analyze the water and check that it is acceptable for the sows. Many factors can affect water quality, including microbiological, physical and chemical factors.

Optimizing sow comfort

Sows are very adaptable and will do well in a temperature range called the thermoneutral zone. The thermoneutral zone is a range of ambient temperatures (approximately 55º to 75º [12.7ºC to 23.8ºC]) at the pig level in which a pig can maintain a normal body temperature (102°F [93.8ºC]) through control of sensible heat loss. During the summer, sows should be kept cool to stimulate increased feed consumption. The cooling system increases sow feed consumption by 19.8% and decreases sow weight loss by 78%.


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