Interpretive Summary: Review: Physiology and nutrition of late gestating and transition sows
By: Peter Kappel Theil, Chantal Farmer, Takele Feyera
The transition period is a short period of the reproductive cycle spanning from 7–10 d prepartum to 3–5 d postpartum in sows. Nonetheless, it is highly important for the productivity of sows because it is when the majority of piglet deaths occur. Most piglets die either during the birth process or within the first days postpartum, and mammary development, fetal growth, farrowing process, and colostrum production have profound impacts on piglet survival and growth. Nutrition during this critical period can greatly affect these physiological processes, and the most effective feeding strategy needs to be elaborated. Around farrowing, the sow may suffer from inadequate energy from assimilated starch, and liver glycogen seems not to be able to supply sufficient glucose to meet the demand for nest building, uterine contractions, and colostrum production. The sow seems to prioritize glucose for the mammary gland above the uterus but may suffer from depletion due to nest building. The insufficient energy status of the sow compromises the farrowing process and prolongs the duration, thereby increasing the need for farrowing assistance and stillbirths. Nutritional strategies to alleviate these challenges include adequate feed supply, number of daily meals, dietary fiber content, and extra supplementation of energy to sows around farrowing.
Read the full article on the Journal of Animal Science.