Effect of Lactation Diet Fat Level on Sow and Litter Performance

S. M. Neal, K. M. Irvin, G. C. Shurson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The primary objective of this study was to determine the effects of supplemental dietary fat during lactation on sow BW, sow backfat thickness, sow feed consumption, litter size, and pig growth rate. Dietary treatments included 0, 3, 6, and 9% supplemental low acid yellow fat in a traditional corn-soybean meal basal lactation diet. A total of 160 Landrace and crossbred sows (approximately 40 per treatment) were included in the study. Sows fed 3 and 6% supplemental fat had greater (P < 0.10) average backfat thickness at weaning. Sow weight change and feed consumption were inconsistent among dietary fat levels. Dietary fat level during lactation did not affect number of pigs born alive or number of stillborns. However, the 9% fat level was associated with more mummified pigs at birth. Number of pigs weaned was greater for the 0% supplemental fat than for the 9% fat level. The largest average pig weights at 21 (5.8±0.29 kg) and 28 (7.48±0.38) d of age were those from sows fed the 3% added fat diet. Sows with ≤ 25.4 mm backfat at farrowing had more pigs born alive (P<0.05), had less backfat at 21 and 28 d of lactation (P<0.05), and consumed more feed during wk 2 and 3 of lactation. Of all sows fed the control diet, sows with >25.4 mm backfat at farrowing consistently had heavier pigs throughout the lactation phase (P<0.05). Backfat loss during lactation was lower (P<0.05) for sows with ≤25.4 mm at farrowing within all dietary treatments. Consistent significant differences were not observed in sow weight loss or feed consumption between low and high backfat sows for each dietary treatment. Sow backfat loss during lactation is dependent on body condition at farrowing, in that, fatter sows at farrowing have greater backfat loss during lactation. Sows with ≤ 25.4 mm of backfat at farrowing responded to added dietary fat treatments and produced heavier pigs throughout the lactation period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalProfessional Animal Scientist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1999

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1999 American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.


  • Dietary Fat
  • Litter Performance
  • Sows


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