Feed intake during lactation is critical to ensure the sow is able to satisfy the nutritional needs of her growing litter whilst maintaining body condition. Of the many factors that can limit production efficiency climate can have the greatest influence, particularly during the summer. In heat stress conditions, appetite and voluntary feed intake decreases in order to reduce the thermic effect of feed digestion (TEF).
Numerous strategies to alleviate this problem have been explored, such as cooling buildings or animals and increasing diet nutrient density to compensate for reduced feed intake. Improving diet palatability through the addition of flavouring additives also offers the potential to stimulate sow feed intake during this critical period.
By Simon Eskinazi, Adisseo