Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-42gr6 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-20T20:57:13.927Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

The effect of feeding salmon oil to sows throughout pregnancy on pre-weaning mortality of piglets

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 August 2016

J.A. Rooke*
Animal Biology Division, Scottish Agricultural College, Craibstone, Aberdeen AB21 9YA, UK
A.G. Sinclair
Animal Biology Division, Scottish Agricultural College, Craibstone, Aberdeen AB21 9YA, UK
S.A. Edwards*
Department of Agriculture, University of Aberdeen, 581 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5UA, UK
R. Cordoba
Department of Agriculture, University of Aberdeen, 581 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5UA, UK
S. Pkiyach*
Department of Agriculture, University of Aberdeen, 581 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5UA, UK
P.C. Penny
JSR Healthbred Ltd, Southburn, Driffield, East Yorkshire YO23 9ED, UK
P. Penny
JSR Healthbred Ltd, Southburn, Driffield, East Yorkshire YO23 9ED, UK
A.M. Finch*
Division of Nutrition and Development, Rowett Research Institute, Greenburn Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB21 9SB, UK
G.W. Horgan
Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB21 9SB, UK
Department of Agriculture, The University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK.
§Ministry of Agriculture, PO Box 34188, Nairobi, Kenya.
Victor Chang Research Institute, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia.
Get access


Salmon oil (16·5 kg /t), a source of long-chain polyunsaturated n-3 fatty acids, was included in diets offered to multiparous sows during pregnancy and lactation to measure responses in pre-weaning mortality and performance of piglets in two studies. The first study, carried out under commercial conditions, included 196 sows which were offered salmon oil and control diets from immediately post service until weaning. The same diets were also offered to 10 sows per treatment from day 58 of pregnancy in a controlled nutritional study which measured the effects of salmon oil on piglet tissue fatty acid composition. Offering salmon oil to the sow significantly increased gestation length and decreased individual piglet birth weight but had no effect on litter size at birth. Overall, salmon oil reduced pre-weaning mortality from 11·7% to 10·2% mainly by reducing the incidence of deaths from crushing by the sow. More detailed analysis of mortality using a general linear mixed model and 2294 piglet records, demonstrated that the incidence of pre-weaning mortality was significantly decreased with increasing individual piglet birth weight and by inclusion of salmon oil in the diet; the incidence of mortality increased with average piglet birth weight in a litter. Salmon oil inclusion had no effect on weight of litter weaned, sow lactation food intake or subsequent reproductive performance. In both studies, dietary salmon oil increased the proportions of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in colostrum to a similar extent. In the nutritional study, inclusion of salmon oil reduced the proportions of 20: 4 n-6 in piglet liver and brain at birth and increased the proportions of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Therefore, despite reducing piglet birth weight, offering sows salmon oil reduced pre-weaning mortality of piglets. The nutritional study showed that the amount and type of marine oil used may not have been optimal.

Non-ruminant, nutrition, behaviour and production
Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 2001

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Antipatis, C., Rooke, J. A., Ewen, M. and Ashworth, C. J. 2001. Both moderate vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy and birthweight affect piglet immunity. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (abstr. ) In press.Google Scholar
Arendonk, J. A. M.van, Rosmeulen, C.van, Janss, L. L. G. and Knol, E. F. 1996. Estimation of direct and maternal genetic (co)variances for survival within litters of piglets. Livestock Production Science 46: 163171.Google Scholar
Azain, M. J. 1993. Effects of adding medium-chain triglycerides to sow diets during late gestation and early lactation on litter performance. Journal of Animal Science 71: 30113019.Google Scholar
Bauer, R., Walter, B., Ihring, W., Kluge, H., Lampe, V. and Zwiener, U. 2000. Altered renal function in growth-restricted newborn piglets. Pediatric Nephrology 14: 735739.Google Scholar
Bland, I. M., Rooke, J. A., Sinclair, A. G., Bland, V. C. and Edwards, S. A. 2001. Effects of supplementing the maternal diet with vitamins and vaccinating the sow on immunoglobulin G concentrations in piglet tissues. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (abstr. ) 60: 72A.Google Scholar
Carlson, S.E., Cooke, R. J., Werkman, S. H. and Tolley, E. A. 1992. First year growth of preterm infants fed standard compared to marine oil n-3 supplemented formula. Lipids 27: 901907.Google Scholar
Carlson, S.E., Werkman, S.H., Peeples, J. M., Cooke, R. J. and Tolley, E. A. 1993. Arachidonic acid status correlates with first year growth in preterm infants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 90: 10731077.Google Scholar
Cieslak, D. G., Leibbrandt, V. D. and Benevenga, N. J. 1983. Effects of a high fat supplement in late gestation and lactation on piglet survival and performance. Journal of Animal Science 57: 954959.Google Scholar
Clandinin, M. T., Chappell, J. E., Leong, S., Heim, T., Swyer, P. R. and Chance, G. W. 1980. Intrauterine fatty acid accretion rates in human brain: implications for fatty acid requirements. Early Human Development 4: 121129.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Daza, A., Evangelista, J. N. B. and Gutierrez-Barquin, M. G. 1999. The effect of maternal and litter factors on piglet mortality rate. Annales de Zootechnie 48: 317325.Google Scholar
Edwards, S. A. and Pike, I. 1997. Effects of fishmeal on sow reproductive performance. Proceedings of the British Society of Animal Science 1997, p. 95.Google Scholar
English, P. R. and Smith, W. J. 1975. Some causes of death in neonatal piglets. Veterinary Annual 15: 95104.Google Scholar
Fahmy, M. H., Holtmann, W. B., MacIntyre, T. M. and Moxley, J. E. 1978. Evaluation of piglet mortality in 28 two-breed crosses among eight breeds of pig. Animal Production 26: 277285.Google Scholar
Genstat 5 Committee. 1993. GENSTAT 5 reference manual. Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
Hughes, P. E. 1992. Postnatal care in pigs. In Neonatal survival and growth (ed. Varley, M.A., Williams, P.E.V. and Lawrence, T.L.J.) British Society of Animal Production occasional publication no. 15, pp. 149161.Google Scholar
Lende, T. van der and Jager, D. de. 1991. Death risk and preweaning growth rate of piglets in relation to the within-litter weight distribution at birth. Livestock Production Science 28: 7384.Google Scholar
Meat and Livestock Commission. 1999. Pig yearbook 1999. Meat and Livestock Commission, Milton Keynes, UK.Google Scholar
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. 1992. Analysis of agricultural materials, second edition. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.Google Scholar
Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food. 1993. Prediction of the energy value of compound feedingstuffs for farm animals. MAFF Publications, London.Google Scholar
Olsen, S. F., Dalby Sørensen, J., Secher, N. J., Hedegaard, M., Brink Hendriksen, T., Hansen, H. S. and Grant, A. 1992. Randomised controlled trial of effect of fish-oil supplementation on pregnancy duration. Lancet 339: 10031007.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Passingham, R. E. 1985. Rates of brain development in mammals including man. Brain, Behaviour and Evolution 26: 167175.Google Scholar
Pettigrew, J. E. 1981. Supplemental dietary fat for peripartal sows. Journal of Animal Science 53: 107117.Google Scholar
Pluske, J. R., Williams, I. H. and Aherne, F. X. 1995. Nutrition of the neonatal piglet. In The neonatal pig development and survival (ed. Varley, M. A.), pp. 187238. CAB International, Wallingford.Google Scholar
Reddy, S., Sanders, T. A. B. and Obeid, O. 1994. The influence of maternal vegeterian diet on essential fatty acid status of the newborn. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 48: 358368.Google Scholar
Roehe, R. and Kalm, E. 2000. Estimation of genetic and environmental risk factors assoicated with pre-weaning mortality in piglets using generalized linear mixed models. Animal Science 70: 227240.Google Scholar
Rooke, J. A., Bland, I. M. and Edwards, S. A. 1998. Effect of feeding tuna oil or soyabean oil as supplements to sows in late pregnancy on piglet tissue composition and viability. British Journal of Nutrition 80: 273280.Google Scholar
Rooke, J. A., Shanks, M. and Edwards, S. A. 2000. Effect of offering maize, linseed or tuna oils throughout pregnancy and lactation on sow and piglet tissue composition and piglet performance. Animal Science 71: 289299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rooke, J. A., Sinclair, A. G. and Edwards, S. A. 2001a. Feeding tuna oil to the sow at different times during pregnancy has different effects on piglet long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid composition at birth and subsequent growth. British Journal of Nutrition 86: 2130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rooke, J. A., Sinclair, A. G. and Ewen, M. 2001b. Changes in piglet tissue composition at birth in response to increasing maternal intake of long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are non-linear. British Journal of Nutrition In press.Google Scholar
Royston, J. P., Flecknell, P. A. and Wootton, R. 1982. New evidence that the intra-uterine growth-retarded piglet is a member of a discrete subpopulation. Biology of the Neonate 42: 100104.Google Scholar
Schall, R. 1991. Estimation in generalized linear models with random effects. Biometrika 78: 719727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sweasey, D., Patterson, D. S. P. and Glancy, E. M. 1976. Biphasic myelination and the fatty acid composition of cerebrosides and cholesterol esters in the developing central nervous system of the domestic pig. Journal of Neurochemistry 27: 375380.Google Scholar
Uauy, R., Mena, P. and Rojas, C. 2000. Essential fatty acids in early life: structural and functional role. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 59: 315.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Varley, M. A. 1995. Introduction. In The neonatal pig development and survival (ed. Varley, M. A.), pp. 116. CAB International, Wallingford.Google Scholar
Wank, V., Bauer, R., Walter, B., Kluge, H., Fischer, M. S., Blickhan, R. and Zwiener, U. 2000. Accelerated contractile function and improved fatigue resistance of calf muscles in newborn piglets with IUGR. American Journal of Physiology 278: R304R310.Google ScholarPubMed
Werkman, S. H. and Carlson, S.E. 1996. A randomised trial of visual attention of preterm infants fed docosahexaenoic acid until nine months. Lipids 31: 9197.Google Scholar
Xu, R. J., Mellor, D. J., Birtles, M. J., Reynolds, G. W. and Simpson, H. V. 1994. Impact of intrauterine growth retardation on the gastrointestinal tract and the pancreas in newborn pigs. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 18: 231240.Google ScholarPubMed