Lactation Sows Feeding & Housing guide - part 1

Lactation Sows - Housing & Feeding Guide (Part 1)

In this first part of this guide, we will get you covered on two fundamentals when it comes to lactation sows:

  • The feeding and water consumption of the lactation sows
  • The housing of the lactation sows

The two are closely interrelated with the lactation sow farrowing management (part 2), which is an important component of the overall lactation sow management and a prerequisite to a good piglet litter health.

Feeding & Water Consumption guidelines for lactation sows

An appropriate and scalable feed program suited to the South East Asian weather conditions 

Feeding lactation sows in Southeast Asia can be quite challenging and the pathway to a successful feeding will vary according to the weather conditions and temperatures of each specific country.

The following feeding recommendations are based on wet and hot weather conditions. When faced with hot weather conditions, lactation sows have naturally a lower appetite which, in turn, results in a big reduction in milk production and a significant weight loss.

To counterbalance this effect and increase the feed intake, the following two simple yet effective tips are to be followed:

  • Distribute the feed several times per day especially during the coolest temperature (morning, evening)
  • Add water to the feed (eventually enriched in vitamins and electrolytes) to improve their consumption

Do you know?

Electrolytes provide nutrients such as sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium which can help minimize the impacts of stress and help pigs to stay hydrated.

The feeding program for lactation sows can be divided into three phases (by days).

  1. Diarrhea Prevention (2 Days Post Farrowing until 8th day): the switch at lactation feed two days after the farrowing is important to avoid constipations and Mastitis Metrisis and Agalactia (MMA) syndrome. Feed intake should be increased to 0.5kg/day/sow for sows and 0.3kg/day/gilt to prevent piglet diarrhea.

2. Weight Loss Prevention (9th Day until 26th day): to cover the milk requirement of 10 piglets, the target feed intake is 5-7.5 kg of feed/day/sow, 10-15 days after farrowing. During hot season, the   target is 5.5-6.5 kg/day/sow.

3. Milk Halt Production (last two days of lactation): Decrease the feed intake during the last two days of lactation to induce a stress suitable environment to stop the milk production and for a quick return into heat.

Here is a quick graphic summarizing the feeding breakdown into the three phases:

Lactation Sow Feed Program


Do you know?

A 3kg lactation feed/day/sow equals to a 4kg milk production, which results in 1kg piglet weight gain.

Which feed to use to optimize piglet growth? 

Lactation sows need to optimize their milk production and quality to meet piglet body weight requirement. It is what two of our products are specifically focused on:

Ultrapak Hog Lactating is advised to support good production and quality of milk with the objective of increasing piglets’ body weight at weaning. Contact us to receive the product cheat sheet, including feed ingredients, instructions to use and recommended feeding durations. You can also check out Ultrapak’s swine feed range.

Maxi’Mum 118 (Evialis) is advised to support good production and quality of milk with the objective of increasing piglets’ body weight at weaning. Contact us to receive the product cheat sheet, including feed ingredients, instructions to use and recommended feeding durations. You can also check out Evialis’ swine feed range.

Importance of water consumption in lactation sows

A sow needs to drink 40-50 liters of water per day during the lactation phase to meet the milk production requirement needed for the piglet litter growth.

The ad libitum water distribution is thus the most preferred distribution system to deliver clean and fresh water. Insufficient water consumption leads to low milk production, which may have consequences on piglet litter growth and weight.

Be aware: if you distribute water manually, all the water distributed in the through will not be drunk as sows use some water to refresh their body.

Do you know?

Water hygiene can be improved by using organic acids, as this leads to higher water intake and lower salmonella and E. coli prevalence.


n Sows Water Consumption


Lactation sows housing environment 

Lactating sows are assigned to lactation pens for duration of at least 30 days, so pens have to be adapted to the sows. In terms of lactation pens’ best practices, you should follow these 5 tips:

  • Sufficient space allowance per sow and litter (1.85m*2.5m). The sow should not be able to turn on herself but still have enough space to lay down without injuring herself.
  • Nipple drinkers should be two with a height of 50-60cm for the sow and 15-20cm for the piglet
  • Temperature: the ideal temperature for the sows in lactation should be between 20 and 22 Celsius degrees. Nonetheless, given the hot and wet temperatures in South East Asia, temperatures can exceed the recommended temperatures but should be kept below 28°C. For this, you can install a dropping system, fans or pad-cooling. For the piglet, the recommended maximum temperature to keep piglets warm is 30 degrees. You can use an infrared lamp (superior to 175 watts) to keep them hot.
  • Comfortable and clean floor for piglets. You can use washable rubber or disposable carton carpets.

Lactation sows Pen

Check out the second part of this guide that will deal with the farrowing management of the sow lactating period

For any queries about lactation sows feeding and housing, contact us.



Lactation Sows Management -(Part 2)


Be informed about our updated guides & news.

Don’t miss out our next publications, subscribe to the newsletter now.