Interpretive Summary: Effect of the supplementation with a combination of plant extracts on sow and piglet performance and physiology during lactation and around weaning
By: Lucile Herve, Hélène Quesnel, Amaury Greuter, Laurent Hugonin, Elodie Merlot, Nathalie Le Floc’h
Weaning is a critical period for piglets. Some plant extracts, known to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, or antibacterial properties, may improve piglets’ robustness at weaning. This study investigated the effects of a maternal and/or a direct supplementation of piglets with a combination of plant extracts on sow and piglet metabolic, immune, inflammatory, and oxidative status during lactation and around weaning. The maternal supplementation corresponded to a powdered supplement top-dressed on sow diet during late gestation and lactation and a liquid solution administered once 1 wk before parturition. The piglet supplementation was a liquid solution administered once on day 3 of age. The most concentrated components of the powder were extracts of fenugreek, Siberian ginseng, and cat’s claw. The liquid solutions contained mostly oregano and eucalyptus essential oils. The maternal supplementation had few effects on sow immune, inflammatory, and oxidative status but modified milk composition at the end of lactation. It did not improve growth performance and the immune, inflammatory, and oxidative blood parameters of piglets around weaning. The direct supplementation of piglets modified their immune and oxidative status before weaning and increased their growth performance during the postweaning period, showing the potential of plant extracts as part of preventive strategies dedicated to improve piglets’ robustness during the suckling and postweaning periods.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.