Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 2003


Published in 2003 Nebraska Swine Report, compiled by Duane Reese, Extension Swine Specialist, Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Published by Cooperative Extension Division, Agricultural Research Division, and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


A literature review was conducted to examine the role dietary omega-3 fatty acids may play in swine reproduction. Omega-3 fatty acids are not normally present to any great extent in practical swine diets, but they are increasingly important in human and pet health. Swine nutritionists have focused primarily on the effect omega-3 fatty acids may have on littler size, piglet preweaning mortality, and boar fertility. Feeding omega-3 fatty acids to sows has not generally improved litter size. Piglet preweaning mortality may be improved by omega-3 fatty acid supplementation provided sows are allowed to farrow naturally (without induction). Boar fertility seems to be positively influenced by feeding omega-3 fatty acids. The optimum amount of omega-3 fatty acids. The optimum amount of omega-3 fatty acids to add to breeding herd diets, which aspect(s) of the reproductive cycle they should be provided for best results, and the preferred sources require greater clarification.