The constipation of the sow during the farrowing period
Low fiber diet is cause of many problems, so the feeding of sows needs special attention.
Why is it problematic?
It slows down digestion, so low fiber fodder slows down the peristaltis of the pig. The sow's appetite decreases, too.
It destroys the water absorption and, together, the injection milk - and milk production. Water consumption has an increasing role around the farrowing. If sows do not drink enough water, milk production will decrease. Daily milk production of a healthy sow may reach 15 liters of milk. This requires an increased amount of water.
In the case of peristaltis, the number of stillborn piglets are increased as the hard faecals reduce the cross-section of the birth canal. Because the anus is located directly above the birth canal, it makes the farrowing difficult since it reduces the cross-section of the birth canal, making it difficult for the piglets to escape. Because of this, piglets stay longer in the birth canal and can be suffocated more easily.
What to do about it?
Periodically check the nutrition content of the feed. We tend to pay less attanetion to "less important" nutritional parameters when we try new raw material or when recipe changes. For example, the quantity and quality of the fiber.
Required fiber quantity can be reached with just one fiber source. However, it is also important to pay attention to the quality of the fiber. Here we consider the presence of fermentable fibers in the feed. The wider the palette of used fibers, the lower the chance of the constipation.
And last but not least, follow the water consumption. It is good to be able to follow the evolution of water consumption on a farrowing station basis. We can write eg. water consumption log. If we find that water absorption drops for some reason, this will help us to be able to respond to the welfare of sows before become a serious problem.