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Effect of dietary l-carnitine supplementation on growth performance of piglets
Previous studies showed that supplementation of sows` diets with l-carnitine increases body weights of their piglets at birth. But does the supplementation also influence the growth performance of piglets from control sows or sows treated with l-carnitine during pregnancy and lactation?

This study was performed to investigate whether piglets of sows treated with l-carnitine differ in their growth potential from that of piglets of untreated control sows after weaning.
It was also investigated whether supplementation of piglets` diets with l-carnitine improves their growth after weaning.

In two trials, piglets of the first litters of primiparous sows (trial 1) and the second litters of the same sows (trial 2) were divided into four groups: group 1, piglets of control sows, fed a control diet; group 2, piglets of control sows fed a diet supplemented with 30 mg l-carnitine/kg; group 3, piglets of l-carnitine-treated sows, fed a control diet; group 4, piglets of l-carnitine-treated sows fed a diet supplemented with 30 mg l-carnitine/kg.

Mean initial body weights of the piglets of the four groups were identical.

They were 8.5 kg in trial 1 and 12.5 kg in trial 2. Diets were fed ad libitum over a period of 35 days.

Piglets from sows treated with l-carnitine did not differ in body weight gains, feed intake and gain : feed ratio from those of control sows.

In trial 1, piglets supplemented with l-carnitine had higher body weight gains (p < 0.005) and showed a tendency towards a higher gain : feed ratio (p = 0.09) than piglets fed the control diets.

In trial 2, no significant difference in these parameters emerged between piglets fed the diet supplemented with l-carnitine and those fed the control diet.

In conclusion, this study shows that dietary l-carnitine treatment of sows does not improve the growth potential of their piglets after weaning under the conditions of equal initial body weights.

The study also shows that l-carnitine supplementation of their diets improves the growth performance in light piglets of primiparous sows.


Source: Birkenfeld, C., Ramanau, A., Kluge, H., Spilke, J. & Eder, K. (2005): Effect of dietary l-carnitine supplementation on growth performance of piglets from control sows or sows treated with l-carnitine during pregnancy and lactation. In: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 89 (7-8), 277-283.





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SWINE PRACTICE

Enrofloxacin and the porcine livermembers
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