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Why Restrict a Sow’s Diet?

Hunger in sows The food provided for pregnant sows is usually much less than that which they would choose to consume so the animals are hungry throughout much of their lives.28 Intensively reared sows are usually fed on restricted rations of concentrated feed. These provide for the nutritional requirements of the sow, but lack the bulk or roughage to satisfy her hunger. The Pigs Directive addresses this problem by stipulating that “to satisfy their hunger and given the need to chew, all … pregnant sows … must be given a sufficient quantity of bulky or highfibre food as well as high-energy food”.29 This provision came into force on 1 January sow-and-ten-piglets-at-LDWLP-web2003. https://www.ciwf.org.uk/media/3818623/eu-law-on-the-welfare-of-farm-animals.pdf

Restricting feed intake in gestating sows is necessary to limit excessive weight gain and fat deposition, stimulate lactation feed intake and increase overall sow productivity. However, limit feeding does not allow the sow the chance to feel full or satisfied after eating and can lead to frustration and, ultimately, stereotypic behaviours. Feeding fibre during gestation can help address this issue and can also contribute to reduced constipation and over-conditioning, enhanced feed intake in lactation, increased gut capacity, reduced stress, as well as increased litter weight gain and productivity. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/swine/facts/info_sows.htm

 

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