Ideal amino acid balance for sows during gestation and lactation.
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Improving efficiency of protein utilization is important for pregnant sows under restricted feed allowance and for lactating sows with limited feed intake. Sows have limited ability to support the growth of fetuses and mammary glands during late gestation and to support mammary growth and milk production, especially during first lactation period. A series of studies was conducted to characterize requirements and ideal ratios of AA for 1) fetal growth, 2) mammary gland growth of gestating sows, 3) maternal tissue gain of gestating sows, 4) mammary gland growth of lactating sows, and 5) maternal tissue gain of lactating sows. A total of 97 pregnant sows and their fetuses and a total of 174 lactating sows and their nursing piglets were used for these studies to collect fetal tissues, mammary tissues, and maternal tissues for AA analysis. Requirements and ideal ratios of AA for sows changed dynamically depending on stages of pregnancy. Suggested daily requirements for true ileal digestible Lys were 5.57 and 8.78 g, and relative ideal ratios for Lys:Thr:Val:Leu (on basis of AA weight) were 100:79:65:88 and 100:71:66:95 for d 0 to 60 and d 60 to 114 of gestation, respectively. Requirements and ideal ratios of AA for lactating sows changed dynamically depending on potential amounts of protein mobilization from maternal tissues, which are related to voluntary feed intake and milk production. Suggested ideal ratios for Lys:Thr:Val:Leu were 100:59:77:115 and 100:69:78:123 if BW losses of sows during 21 d of lactation are 0 and 33 to 45 kg, respectively. To optimize efficiency of dietary protein utilization by sows, the dietary AA content and ratios can be adjusted by stages of pregnancy (i.e., phase feeding) and by expected feed intakes or parities of sows during lactation (i.e., parity-split feeding) considering the dynamic changes in the requirements and ideal ratios of AA.