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Dietary probiotic supplementation in primiparous sows
Probiotic supplementation is very popular in humans and probiotic cultures are also fed to dogs, cats, rabbits etc. The supplementation in sows is unusual. Do these microorganisms have any positive effect on performance and health status? A very interesting new study from Weihenstephan, Germany.

In an experiment with 33 first-litter sows from day 90 of pregnancy to day 28 of lactation, the influence of a probiotic supplementation on weight performance, feed intake, litter sizes, litter weights, health status and microbiological profile was tested.

Enterococcus faecium DSM 7134 was supplemented in a concentration of 5 × 108 CFU/kg feed to the gestation and lactation diets of gilts.

The supplemented sows showed a significant higher improvement of feed intake (4.16 vs. 3.71 kg/day), litter size (9.2 vs. 7.7 piglets) and weight performance.

The average live weight of the probiotic sows at day 28 of lactation was 11 kg higher than of the controls.
The bacterial counts/g faeces (lactobacilli, Gram-positive anaerobes, Gram-negative anaerobes, Escherichia coli and enterococci) and the incidence of adhesive and haemolytic E. coli organisms revealed no significant differences between the sows of the two groups or their piglets.

While the litter size cannot necessarily be assumed as a primary effect of the probiotic supplementation, the significantly better feed intake and weight performance might be partly due to the probiotic use and can prevent `starvation sterility` of young sows after their first litter caused by reduced feed intake during lactation with high mobilization of body tissue accompanied with lack of energy.




Source: Böhmer, B. M., Kramer, W. & Roth-Maier, D. A. (2006): Dietary probiotic supplementation and resulting effects on performance, health status, and microbial characteristics of primiparous sows. In: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 90 (7-8), 309-315.




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