In modern piggeries, due to the increase in litter size (number of piglets born alive), the number of piglets born at a low birth weight (typically under 1.0 kg) is increasing. Those piglets have a lower chance of survival because of their lower body energy reserves, and therefore are of concern for the farmers. Piglets weighing less than 1.1 kg at birth were given an oral dose of fat-based energy (2 mL of coconut oil or 2 mL of a commercial product), 2 mL of water or were only handled but given nothing. This was done to investigate the effects of providing an energy boost at birth on the chances of survival of small piglets. Parameters measured to assess the piglets’ vitality were survival, blood glucose content, rectal temperature, behaviour test of vigour and weight gain. Unfortunately, there was no effect of the energy dose on the parameters measured. Therefore, we conclude that a single dose of energy at birth does not enhance the chances of survival of small piglets. Therefore, using energy product to improve piglet survival at birth may not be the most efficient strategy.
- Blood glucose
- Low birth weight