Location: Livestock Behavior Research
Project Number: 5020-32000-014-072-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Apr 1, 2025
To evaluate the effects of a poultry nutrition supplement on heat-stressed gestating sow stress response and the downstream effects on offspring welfare.
Thirty-six gestating sows will be exposed to heat stress (HS) or thermoneutral (TN) conditions from breeding until d 59 of gestation following previously established protocols. During gestation (d 0 to 59 only), 50% of the HS sows and 50% of the TN sows will be supplemented with the nutritional liquid supplement (LS) via nipple waterers at a rate of 100 mg/L based upon previous research. All the remaining sows will be non-supplemented (NS). Treatment structure will be: HS-LS (n = 9 sows), HS-NS (n = 9 sows), TN-LS (n = 9 sows), and TN-NS (n = 9 sows) and sow numbers are based upon a power analysis. Thermoregulatory, behavioral, and physiological measures of stress will be assessed in all gestating sows. During the pre-weaning phase, farrowing duration and litter characteristics (i.e., stillborn, live born, mummies), as well as pre-weaning health, performance, and mortality measures will be recorded. At weaning, a total of 240 mixed sex piglets evenly distributed by litter will be weaned and transported using established protocols. Upon placement into nursery pens (10 pens per treatment; 0.21 m2/pig), measures of performance, behavior, and physiology will be assessed until d 56 of life (end of nursery phase).