Dietary Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratios Affect Sow Reproduction and Piglet Performance
Maximizing the reproductive performance of sows is crucial to optimize pig flow and improve the economics of the production of pork. Many nutritional strategies have been used and there is growing interest in using dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids like the omega-3 fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 may need to be utilized to maximize the benefits of adding omega-3 fatty acids to sow diets. Farrowing room production was optimal when the plant oil based ratio was 5:1 for omega-6:omega-3. When fed the fish oil diet, less feed was consumed and reduced weaning weight and piglet birth was noted, so plant options like flaxseed are much more beneficial. Varied dietary omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can affect sows reproductive performance and the performance of her offspring.