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Effect of lactating sows’ diet supplemented with cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) on feed intake and reproductive and productive post-weaning performances

Ordaz-Ochoa, Gerardo, Juarez-Caratachea, Aureliano, Pérez-Sánchez, Rosa Elena, Martínez-Flores, Héctor Eduardo, Esquivel-Cordova, Juvenal, Ortiz-Rodríguez, Ruy
Tropical animal health and production 2018 v.50 no.7 pp. 1671-1682
Opuntia ficus-indica, blood glucose, body weight changes, cacti and succulents, data collection, diet, farrowing, hybrids, lactating females, lactation, litter size, models, piglets, sows, undereating, voluntary intake
The effect of cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) added to the diet of lactating (21 days of lactation) sows on voluntary feed intake, and its impact on the productive and reproductive post-weaning performance was evaluated. Data collected of 72 farrowings from 37 hybrid sows were analyzed during 12-month period. The sows were divided into two groups: (i) control group (CG; n = 18 sows), sows fed only with commercial feed, and (ii) experimental group (EG; n = 19 sows), sows fed with commercial feed plus cactus supplement. The variables evaluated were blood glucose (BG), daily feed intake (DFI) and total feed intake (TFI), loss of body weight (LBW), weaning-estrus interval (WEI), and subsequent litter size (SLS). Data analysis was carried out using fixed effects models. A nested effect was found for farrowing number (FN) into of group and an interaction group × season on the analyzed variables (P < 0.001). EG observed lower levels of BG with 47.0 ± 7.9 mg dL⁻¹ pre-prandial and 56.1 ± 5.9 mg dL⁻¹ post-prandial at the 10th day of lactation (P < 0.05). DFI and TFI were higher in the sows of the EG independently of the FN and season (P < 0.05). No differeces were observed on the nested effect of FN into group on the levels of BG (P < 0.05). Autumn showed the higher TFI: 121.4 kg⁻¹ sow⁻¹ (P < 0.05). Sows from CG 3rd farrowing and from EG 4th farrowing observed higher LBW (13.8 and 6.9%, respectively) (P < 0.05). Summer showed a higher LBW with 12.7% for CG and 8.2% for EG (P < 0.05). EG showed a lower WEI (5.5 days) and greater SLS up to 1.8 piglets more depending upon the season (P < 0.05). The lactating sow’s diet supplemented with cactus can counterbalance the negative effects of lactational hypophagia due to reduction on levels of BG during lactation and an increase on DFI and, therefore, improves performance of LBW, WEI, and SLS.