Copper and vitamins A and D are tested
Sow diets supplemented with copper and vitamins A and D result in better litters, trials conducted by Jacques Matte have shown at the federal agriculture research station at Sherbrooke, Que.
“Supplementing copper and vitamins A and D increased the weight of the newborn piglets and reduced the weight difference between piglets in the same litter,” according to a report from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
“At weaning, the composition of their microbiota improved. With weight gain and enhanced immunity due to more beneficial bacteria in the microbiota, the piglets’ disease resistance and growth potential were enhanced.”
As for piglets, Matte found “the best way to increase copper and vitamins A and D in piglets during lactation is through oral supplementation and exposure to certain types of artificial radiation.
“Repeated UVB (ultra-violet band) radiation during lactation appears to be the only treatment that allows a gradual and continuous increase of vitamin D in piglets’ blood, which doubles in comparison to that of control piglets who are weaned at 21 days old,” he wrote.
“This improvement in the amount of copper and vitamins A and D in piglets ends with weaning and cessation of supplementation.
“During and after weaning, bovine colostrum is the best supplement to give to light-weight piglets to improve their growth and quality of their microbiota.”