A systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary fat effects on reproductive performance of sows and growth performance of piglets

Lixue Wang, Shuai Zhang, Lee J. Johnston, Crystal L. Levesque, Jingdong Yin, Bing Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Effects of added fat in sow diets on the sows’ reproductive performance and offspring growth performance are influenced by multiple factors such as genetics, nutrition, parity, ambient temperatures, and farm management. Individual studies cannot cover all these factors. With the view to address this challenge, we searched all studies that were published from 1986 to 2020, and performed a systematic review and meta-analysis on the fat effect. In total, 19 papers were collected and analyzed. Fat supplementation in sow diets during late gestation and lactation decreased average daily feed intake (ADFI, P < 0.05) and tended to increase average daily energy intake (ADEI, P = 0.11). It had no impact on litter weights at birth (P = 0.40) or weaning (P = 0.46). It increased total numbers of piglets at birth (P = 0.07), but had no effect on liveborn per litter (P = 0.90) or survival rate (P = 0.48) of piglets to weaning. Fat supplementation had no significant effect on sow body weight loss (P = 0.67) or backfat thickness changes (P = 0.66), but sows fed diets with added fat had increased milk fat concentration (P = 0.03) and shorter wean to estrus intervals (WEI, P = 0.01). In specific circumstances, fat supplementation tended to improve growth performance of piglets with low litter weights at birth (P = 0.14), or when the sows lost large amounts of body weight during lactation (P = 0.11). The level of supplemented fat was 10% and higher would decrease liveborn per litter at neutral temperature (P = 0.10). The meta-analysis revealed that fat supplementation to sows diet during late gestation and lactation can be beneficial for sow reproductive performance and litter growth performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalJournal of Animal Science and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is funded by The National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFD0700201).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Diets
  • Fat
  • Growth performance
  • Piglets
  • Reproductive performance
  • Sows


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