The present experiment was conducted to investigate dietary effects of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on sow traits related to piglet survival and growth performance. A total of 23 gestating sows were fed either a standard lactation diet (control diet [CON]) or the CON supplemented with 1.3% CLA (cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12) from day 108 of gestation until weaning (4 wk after parturition) to evaluate whether dietary CLA affects the yield and composition of colostrum, time for initiation of milk production, and sow milk yield. Sows fed CLA tended to produce more colostral fat (6.3 vs. 5.2%, respectively; P = 0.10) than CON sows whereas contents of lactose, protein, and dry matter were similar in the two groups. Sows fed CLA tended to produce less colostrum than CON sows (409 vs. 463 g/piglet, respectively; P = 0.07) as predicted by the piglet rate of gain from 0 to 24 h (58 vs. 97 g/piglet, respectively; P = 0.07). The piglet mortality during the first week of lactation tended to be higher for sows fed CLA than for CON sows (6.8 vs. 2.3%, respectively; P = 0.10), and the number of piglets that died or were moved to others sows to ensure survival during the first week was more than double in the CLA group (17.6 vs. 7.8%, respectively; P = 0.04). Copious milk production was initiated 33 h (CLA) and 34 h (CON) after parturition and was not affected by dietary treatments (P = 0.41). Sow milk yield was improved by the CLA treatment from days 7 to 14 of lactation (P = 0.03). Weight at birth (1.40 kg for both groups; P = 0.98) and at weaning [8.2 kg (CLA) and 8.0 kg (CON); P = 0.52] was not statistically different. In conclusion, colostrum yield was inhibited but milk yield was stimulated by dietary inclusion of cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12 CLA and indicates that sow productivity may be improved by using different fatty acids for transition and lactating sows.
Journal of Animal Science, 2012, Vol 90, Issue Suppl.4, p. 366-368