A note on the effect of dietary supplementation with herbal extracts on sow and litter performance
The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of the phytogenic product, Ruchamax® (Ayurvet, India), on the productivity of sows and the performance of their first litters. Ruchamax® contains a blend of herbal extracts from Adrographis paniculata, Phyllanthus emblica, Curcuma longa, Zingiber officinale and Allium sativum. It was incorporated into a lactation concentrate mixture (E) at an inclusion rate of 1 kg per 1000 kg. A total of 40 primiparous sows (PIC) were allocated to two equal groups: untreated (control (C)) and herb-supplemented (E). Treatments were from day 1 to 28 of lactation. Nursing sows fed the herb-supplemented diet had significantly increased average daily feed intake (5.84 vs. 5.46 kg) and milk output (7.58 vs. 6.71 kg). The experimental factor had a positive effect on the condition of sows (lower reduction of thickness during lactation). Changes in backfat thickness (farrowing-weaning) were significantly different (−6.45 vs. −9.40 mm). There were no differences in initial litter size and litter birth weight (BW) between groups. The average BW of piglets was similar (ca. 1.6 kg) in both groups. The herb-supplemented diet affected 28-day litter weight (69.95 vs. 63.40 kg), average piglet body weight (7.27 vs. 6.74 kg) and daily litter growth rate (1.79 vs. 1.68 kg) significantly compared with the control. It can be concluded that the sows receiving an herb-supplemented diet were characterized by better productivity indices than the control group.
Keywords: Herbal extract; primiparous sows; piglets; performance