This trial was conducted to investigate whether β-hydroxy β-methyl butyrate (HMB) supplementation during late gestation and throughout lactation would influence colostrum and milk production of sows and neonatal piglet survival (0 to 24 h). Control sows (CON; n = 8) were fed a standard lactation diet from day 108 of gestation and until 28 d after parturition (weaning). Sows fed HMB (n = 8) were fed the CON diet topdressed with 2.5 g Ca(HMB)2 equally divided at each 2 daily meals throughout the experiment. Litters were standardized to 12 piglets per sow within experimental group on day 1, and both groups weaned on average 11.3 piglets per sow. Blood samples were taken from the sows by jugular vein puncture on days –3, 1, 10, 17, and 28 relative to parturition. Piglets were weighed at birth, after 24 h, and repeatedly throughout lactation to estimate the colostrum and milk yield of the sows. Samples of colostrum and milk were collected and analyzed. Sows fed HMB had a higher colostrum yield (512 vs. 434 ± 30 g/piglet; P = 0.05) estimated based on the piglet weight gain during the colostrum period (132 vs. 76 ± 21 g/piglet; P = 0.05) and the mortality rate of HMB piglets were lower during the colostrum period (0.0 vs. 4.8%, P < 0.05). The HMB supplementation did not affect colostrum composition (P > 0.10). Supplementation with HMB increased milk content of fat (7.40 vs. 6.47 ± 0.30%; P < 0.05), dry matter (19.0 vs. 18.2 ± 0.26; P < 0.05), and energy (4.81 vs. 4.47 ±0.12 kJ/g; P < 0.05) and reduced the sow backfat at weaning (11.4 vs. 14.5 ± 1.0 mm; P < 0.05). The HMB piglets weighed less at weaning than the control piglets (7.48 vs. 8.30 ± 0.20 kg; P < 0.01), although the milk yield was not reduced. Plasma acetate was higher in HMB sows [202 (175; 233) vs. 158 (141; 179) μM; P < 0.05] whereas plasma 3-hydroxy butyrate was reduced in HMB sows during lactation. In conclusion, HMB supplemented to sows improved the colostrum production but inhibited piglet growth at peak lactation.
Journal of Animal Science, 2012, Vol 90, Issue Suppl.4, p. 372-374
β-hydroxy β-methyl butyrate; piglet survival; transition period