Use of betaine in gilts and sows during lactation: effects on milk quality, reproductive parameters, and piglet performance
Guillermo Ramis, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ECPHM; Jose N. B. Evangelista, DVM, PhD; Juan J. Quereda, DVM, PhD; Francisco J. Pallarés, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ECPHM; José M. de la Fuente, DVM, PhD; Antonio Muñoz, DVM, MBA, PhD, Diplomate ECPHM
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Objectives: To study the effects of betaine inclusion in the feed on gilts and multiparous sows and their litters.
Material and methods: Forty-eight sows and gilts were randomly assigned to Control and Betaine groups, with the Betaine group receiving betaine-supplemented feed from 5 days before their due dates until the end of the lactation period of approximately 18 days. Production parameters were assessed over two consecutive parities, and colostrum and milk were quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed.
Results: In the first studied parity, only average daily feed intake differed between Betaine and Control group females (5.43 ± 0.10 kg and 5.91 ± 0.10 kg, respectively; P < .01). Litter weight at weaning was greater for the Betaine group than the Control group (P < .05). Weaning-to-estrus interval was shorter for the Betaine group (4.7 ± 0.4 days versus 5.8 ± 0.4 days; P < .05). In the second studied parity, means for the Betaine group were significantly greater for piglets born alive (13.9 versus 13.2, P < .05) and pigs weaned per sow (10.9 versus 10.5, P < .01). The content of betaine in milk was significantly greater in the Betaine group (0.219 mg per g versus 0.125 mg per g; P < .05).
Implications: Treatment with betaine from 5 days before farrowing to the end of the lactation period can reduce the weaning-to-estrus interval, improve reproductive performance of gilts and sows, and increase body weight gain of the piglets.
Keywords: betaine, wean-to-estrus interval, litter size, milk quality
Cite as: Ramis G, Evangelista JNB, Quereda JJ, et al. Use of betaine in gilts and sows during lactation: effects on milk quality, reproductive parameters, and piglet performance. J Swine Health Prod 2011;19(4):226-232.
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