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Evaluation of Maternal Diet and Its Effect on Milk Composition and Piglet Health and Growth Performance

Shana Marie Winkel, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Graduate research and graduate teaching duties work together to develop a graduate student’s skills both in the classroom and on their research experiments. Being a GTA and GRA allows a student to form more sound hypotheses, connect better with students, and better understand their own research. During the time as a GTA and GRA four surveys were developed to analyze different groups of students and their learning environment and two animal experiments were conducted to evaluate maternal diet and its effect on milk composition and piglet health and growth performance Surveys given to students consisted of multiple choice, fill in the blank, and Likert scale questions. Surveys were taken anonymously, and no revealing information was asked. Upon completion of each survey, they were analyzed. Improvements and strong points among each topic were noted and discussed. Survey topics included in analysis were the use of case studies in vet school, an assessment of the animal science department through an animal science senior survey, why students chose the animal science major, and the evaluation of undergraduate research at UNL. The animal research that was conducted was done on 2 separate batches of sows. The first experiment consisted of batch 16 parity 1 sows. Sows were fed either 1) Control diet formulated to NRC (2012) specifications (CTL); 2) Restricted (20% energy restriction via addition of 40% soy hulls; RESTR); and 3) Control diet plus addition of crystalline amino acids equivalent to the SID Lys:ME of the RESTR diet (CTL+). during the gilt development stage of days 123-240. Diet may be correlated with milk peptide composition and fecal microbiome of the piglet. The second experiment focused on batch 17 parity 4 sows (n = 30). Sows were all on a common gestation diet except 10 had the recommended value of a probiotic toped dressed on their feed, 10 were a control, and 10 had 5% more than recommended value of the probiotic top dressed on their feed. The top dressing was started on day 80 and continued until farrowing. Sow diet during gestation may affect the milk composition and piglet microbiome and piglet performance.

Subject Area

Animal sciences|Agricultural education

Recommended Citation

Winkel, Shana Marie, "Evaluation of Maternal Diet and Its Effect on Milk Composition and Piglet Health and Growth Performance" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI27956861.