Feeding pregnant (gestation) sows is very important for future production. Gestation can be divided into 4 feeding stages: the first 0-4 weeks, following 5-11 weeks, then increasing feed during the next 12-15 weeks and in the final week reducing feed.
In the first week following mating keep the sows or gilts on a low feeding rate (2 kg/head/day) to reduce the risk of abortion. After that, increase feeding rate to 2.5 kg/head/day to supply extra nutrients to aid recovery from any loss in condition from the previous lactation and allow for gilts to grow.
During the following 8 weeks, as foetuses are still small and the sow’s maintenance requirement is still low, the feed allowances can be reduced to 2.2kg/head/day for the older sows. However, as the gilts and second lactation sows are still growing, the feed allowance should remain 2.5 kg/head/day.
From 12-15 weeks of gestation increase the feed allowance to 2.5kg/head/day for older sows and up to 2.8kg/head/day for gilts & younger sows. The increases in late gestation feed allowance allow the extra nutrients to support the growing foetuses and will help avoid excessive sow fatness at farrowing and impaired lactation feed intake.
In the last week of gestation, gradually reduce feeding rates to 1.5kg/head/day and also provide up to 1.5kg/head/day of bran for its bulkiness and to help avoid constipation. This practice will ease the delivery of piglets and will stimulate the sows to eat more after giving birth.
Riverina (Australia) manufactures balanced Dry Sow (Gestation Sow) rations. Consult your Riverina representative for more details.