Dietary Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratios Affect Body Fat Mobilization During Lactation
Litter sizes have increased due to improved management practices and genetics, though pre-weaning mortality is even higher now. This may be due to sows not being able to keep up with the energy demands of the litter. Over subsequent parities, loss of body condition and severe negative energy balance have negative impacts on rebreeding performance and may lead to early culling. The ability to mobilize body fat can be done by altering the fatty acids in adipose tissue. Body fat mobilization may differ with different ratios of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. A state of negative energy balance and increased body fat mobilization was more likely when sows consumed diets below a 5:1 ratio of omega-6:omega-3. Diet formulations with omega-3’s should be formulated relative to omega-6’s to reduce the culling rate of sows and cost of production.