SOW GUT HEALTH CAN BE TRACED IN PIGLET STOOL
It’s well-known that healthy sows produce healthy piglets.
And you know that management and hygiene considerably impact sow health.
But what about feed?
Is there an actual difference in the effect of sow feed on the health of sows and piglets?
We will give you the answer here.
Piglet health is measured from within
One important point.
>Healthy animals (and healthy people, for that matter) have a diverse gut microflora.
When the gut contains a large variety of bacteria, the harmful bacteria have a more challenging time reproducing and colonizing.
We all have pathogen bacteria in the gut. And that’s perfectly normal. The animal is healthy if the pathogens do not dominate the microflora.
As a result, diverse gut flora is an indicator of health: The greater diversity – the healthier the animal.
Has it been proven that sow feed improves sow health?
“Yes”, it has been proven that the sow feed EP199, made from fermented rapeseed and seaweed, improves sow gut health.
Copenhagen University has analysed the gut microflora from more than 1.000 sows across 36 Danish farms.
The samples were taken before and after feeding the sows with EP199.
The result showed that using EP199 in sow feed significantly increased the diversity of the gut microflora.
Regardless of the type of sow feed used before adding EP199.
But the scientists took a step further.
They analysed the piglet stool to find out if the sow feed could indirectly improve piglet health.
Can sow feed improve piglet gut health?
”Yes” – is the short answer.
The university analysed piglet stool from five different farms:
- Piglets from sows fed standard feed
- Piglets from sows fed EP199 through a cycle of gestation and lactation
You can see the results in the graph. Each dot represents a piglet. The red dots are piglets from sows on standard feed, and the green dots are piglets from sows fed EP199.
The results showed that the piglets significantly increased their gut microflora diversity when their mothers were fed with EP199.
If you look at the graph, you will see that the effect was strongest for piglets, which showed a low diversity in the before samples.
How is the gut microflora transferred from the sow to the piglet?
We know that the sow affects the piglet gut microflora during farrowing, lactation and through the bacteria exchange in the farrowing section.
Research shows that part of the exchange happens earlier – during gestation.
But we need much more research to understand the interaction between fetus and sow fully.
Together with farmers and universities, we are contributing to a better understanding of maternal feeding. This understanding will hopefully help all of us feed our animals for better health and productivity.