Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version

May 1981


Published in JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE, Vol. 53, No. 5, 1981. Copyright American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Two experiments were conducted to determine the effects of supplementary dietary energy (carbohydrate versus fat) fed to sows during late gestation on energy storage and glucose homeostasis in neonatal pigs. In the first experiment, 28 crossbred sows received one of two dietary treatments that were initiated on day 100 of gestation. The control group was fed daily 1.82 kg of a corn-soybean meal-based diet plus an additional .18 kg of cornstarch. Their counterparts were fed 1.82 kg of a cornsoybean meal diet containing 8% bleachable fancy tallow. The effect of maternal dietary energy source during late gestation on glucose homeostasis was evaluated by fasting pigs from birth (t0), whereas the gestation-lactation effect was evaluated by fasting pigs after they had nursed the sow for 24 hr (t24). Pigs on the tallow treatment responded differently to the to fast, as determined by the patterns of plasma glucose (treatment x time, P<.05) and free fatty acids (treatment x time, P<.10). The tallow group maintained a slightly higher glucose concentration during the initial 24 hr, after which no difference was observed. Control pigs reached a peak free fatty acid (FFA) concentration by 12 hr, whereas the tallow group reached a maximum by 24 hr, which corresponded with declining glucose concentration. Pigs on the t24 tallow treatment maintained a slightly higher plasma glucose concentration during the initial 24 hr of fasting (12 hr - 68.3 vs 63.2 mg/l00 ml; 24 hr - 67.1 vs 56.3 mg/100 ml); however, no significant treatment effect or treatment x time interaction was observed. Pigs on the tallow treatment maintained a higher, although not significantly different, plasma FFA concentration during the fast (144 / μeq/liter) than pigs in the control group (126 / μeq/liter). In the second experiment, progeny of 12 sows were sacrificed immediately after birth. The respective carcass lipid (percentage) and liver glycogen (milligrams/ gram) concentrations for pigs from sows fed the control and tallow diets were 1.48, 229.1 vs 1.50, 234.9. The liver glycogen to body weight ratio (milligrams:gram) was 7.1 and 7.8 for the control and tallow groups, respectively.