The aims of the present study were to quantify colostrum intake (CI) of piglets using the D2O dilution technique, to develop a mechanistic model to predict CI, to compare these data with CI predicted by a previous empirical predictive model developed for bottle-fed piglets, and to study how composition of diets fed to gestating sows affected piglet CI, sow colostrum yield (CY), and colostrum composition. In total, 240 piglets from 40 litters were enriched with D2O. The CI measured by D2O from birth until 24 h after the birth of first-born piglet was on average 443 g (SD 151). Based on measured CI, a mechanistic model to predict CI was developed using piglet characteristics (24-h weight gain [WG; g], BW at birth [BWB; kg], and duration of CI [D; min]: CI, g = –106 + 2.26 WG + 200 BWB + 0.111 D – 1,414 WG/D + 0.0182 WG/BWB (R2 = 0.944). This model was used to predict the CI for all colostrum suckling piglets within the 40 litters (n = 500, mean = 437 g, SD = 153 g) and was compared with the CI predicted by a previous empirical predictive model (mean = 305 g, SD = 140 g). The previous empirical model underestimated the CI by 30% compared with that obtained by the new mechanistic model. The sows were fed 1 of 4 gestation diets (n = 10 per diet) based on different fiber sources (low fiber [17%] or potato pulp, pectin residue, or sugarbeet pulp [32 to 40%]) from mating until d 108 of gestation. From d 108 of gestation until parturition, sows were fed 1 of 5 prefarrowing diets (n = 8 per diet) varying in supplemented fat (3% animal fat, 8% coconut oil, 8% sunflower oil, 8% fish oil, or 4% fish oil + 4% octanoic acid). Sows fed diets with pectin residue or sugarbeet pulp during gestation produced colostrum with lower protein, fat, DM, and energy concentrations and higher lactose concentrations, and their piglets had greater CI as compared with sows fed potato pulp or the low-fiber diet (P < 0.05), and sows fed pectin residue had a greater CY than potato pulp-fed sows (P < 0.05). Prefarrowing diets affected neither CI nor CY, but the prefarrowing diet with coconut oil decreased lactose and increased DM concentrations of colostrum compared with other prefarrowing diets (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the new mechanistic predictive model for CI suggests that the previous empirical predictive model underestimates CI of sow-reared piglets by 30%. It was also concluded that nutrition of sows during gestation affected CY and colostrum composition.
Journal of Animal Science, 2014, Vol 92, Issue 12, p. 5507-5519