Effects of dextrose plus lactose in the sows diet on subsequent reproductive performance and within litter birth weight variation.
ABSTRACT Effects of dextrose plus lactose in sow's feed were tested on subsequent reproductive performance and within litter birth weight variation. During the last week of gestation and lactation, sows were either fed a commercial lactation diet (Control: C), or an isocaloric diet containing 25 g/kg dextrose plus 25 g/kg lactose (Treatment: T). In the subsequent weaning-to-oestrus interval (WEI), all sows received the same amount of a commercial feed, but T sows were supplemented with 150 g dextrose plus 150 g lactose per day. Weight and backfat changes were recorded as well as litter characteristics during the treatment period and the subsequent parity. No significant effect of treatment was found on the subsequent reproductive performance, including the number of piglets born, although the number of live born piglets was 0.51 larger (p=0.31) and weight of the live born piglets was 84 g higher in the T sows (p=0.07) than in the C sows. When sows were categorized in sows with 12 or less and more than 12 total born piglets in the previous litter, treatment of sows with dextrose plus lactose resulted for the group with 12 or less piglets in a strong increase in subsequent total born piglets (13.97), whereas in the untreated sows the subsequent litter size was 11.89. In the group with more than 12 total born piglets, no effect of treatment was found (interaction between previous litter size and treatment p=0.03). The within litter variation in birth weight in the subsequent litter was numerically lower in the T sows. We concluded that the use of dextrose and lactose during lactation and WEI seems to enhance litter size in sows with low previous litter size and seems to have the potential to reduce the within litter variation in birth weight.