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This study investigated the effects of supplementing late gestation sow diets with processed or unprocessed oat or wheat straw on physiology, early lactation feed intake, and offspring performance. One hundred and fifty gestating sows were randomly assigned to one of 5 dietary treatments (30 sows per diet) from d 86 of gestation until farrowing. Treatments, arranged as a 2 × 2 factorial plus a control, were a standard gestation diet (control) or control supplemented with 10% wheat or oat straw, processed or unprocessed. Sows were fed a standard lactation diet post-farrowing. The processed straws were produced by high-pressure compaction at 80oC. On d 101 of gestation (d 15 of the trial), blood samples were collected from a subset of sows (n = 8 per treatment) through ear vein catheters and analyzed for insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), prolactin, glucose, and urea concentrations. Fecal samples were collected on d 103-104 of gestation to determine nutrient digestibility, and feeding motivation was investigated on d 104. Litter characteristics and sow feed intake were recorded for 7 d post-farrowing. Three piglets per litter were selected at weaning, fed standard diets, and followed to market. Treatment had no effect on feeding motivation, piglet characteristics at birth, estimated milk production, and offspring BW at market or carcass quality. Processed straw improved DM digestibility and energy content and the effect was greater with oat straw (straw × processing effect, P < 0.05). Pre- and postprandial glucose concentrations tended to decrease (P < 0.10) with processing of wheat, but not oat straw, and this effect was more apparent in the preprandial samples. Preprandial prolactin concentration increased with oat but decreased with wheat straw, whereas postprandial IGF-1 and prolactin concentration increased with processing of wheat, but not oat straw (straw × processing, P < 0.05). Sow lactation feed intake improved (P < 0.05) with oat straw supplementation relative to wheat straw. Piglet weaning weight increased (P < 0.05) with oat straw supplementation and processing improved (P < 0.05) nursery exit BW. However, straw supplementation, regardless of processing, had no effect on offspring BW at market or carcass quality. Overall, oat straw supplementation had a greater impact on sow physiology and provided benefits for sows in late gestation, and there was some indication that further benefits could be obtained through mild processing.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of animal science
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