Animal. Science .. Florida Agricultural
Mimeograph Report AN64-14 Experiment Station
June, 1964 Gainesville, Florida
HIGH LEVEL ANTIBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTATION
OF THE SOW DURING THE FARROWING PERIOD ./
H. D. Wallace and G. E. Combs 2/
Many of the more difficult problems encountered by the swine producer occur
at farrowing time or shortly thereafter. Sows are subjected to numerous stress
factors at this time. Udders may become feverish and caked causing poor milk
flow. Uterine infections following parturition are not uncommon. Scours is of-
ten a problem in the young pigs. The causes of these and other difficulties are
not well understood. Low grade bacterial infections likely provide a starting
point for the acute conditions to develop. Experience with injectable antibi-
otics has demonstrated the effectiveness of these compounds in combating such
complications. It was thus theorized that a therapeutic level of antibiotic in
the feed commencing a few days before parturition and for several after parturi-
tion might likewise prove effective. The experiment reported herein was under-
taken to study this possibility.
The management and feeding procedures for the sows and litters are described
in a previous report (1). The composition of the basal ration is shown in
Table I. Approximately one-half of the sows in each farrowing were supplemented
with 200 gm. terramycin per ton of feed. Sows were allotted to the two groups
(control and terramycin supplemented) at the time they entered the farrowing
barn. Age, previous performance and breed were considered in determining the
allotment. Terramycin supplementation commenced for the treated group on the
10Oth day of gestation and was continued through the first two weeks of gestation.
The experiment was initiated in June of 1962 and terminated in July of 1963.
Seven separate farrowings and 143 litters were involved in the study.
I/ Supported in part by a grant from Chas. Pfizer and Co.
2/ Wallace and Combs, Animal Nutritionist and Assoc. Animal Nutritionist, re-
spectively, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. The assistance of
W. E. Collins and L. S. Taylor, Swine Herdsmen, is gratefully acknowledged.
Table I. COMPOSITION OF THE BASAL RATION
Ground yellow corn 65.09
Ground whole oats 10.00
Soybean meal (50% protein) 20.30
Steamed bonemeal 1.00
Ground limestone 0.75
Iodized salt 0.50
Trace mineral supplement 1/ 0.06
B-vitamin supplement 2/ 0.20
Vitamin BI2 supplement 3/ 0.10
Vitamin A and D supplement 4/ 2.00
/J Calcium Carbonate Co. swine mix. Adds the following to the ration
(p.p.m.): manganese (35.5), iron (43.8), copper (3.0), cobalt (1.0),
zinc (50.4), and potassium (4.7).
2/ Contains 2000 mg. riboflavin, 40C00mg. pantothenic acid, 9000 mg.
niacin and 10,000 mg. choline chloride per pound of supplement.
3/ Contains a minimum of 9 mg. BI2 per pound of supplement.
4/ Contains 14 gm. vitamin A supplement (10,000 i.U./gm.), 4 gm. vitamin
D supplement (9,000 I.U./gm.) and 890 gm. yellow corn meal.
Results and Discussion
The performance data are summarized in Table 2. There were a total of 70
litters in the control group and a total of 73 litters in the antibiotic supple-
mented group. The average litter sizes (live pigs born per litter) were 11.23
and 11.75 respectively for the control and treated groups. The similarity in
litter size provided a desirable base from which to study the antibiotic effect.
The overall percentage survivals were 87.8 and 87.5 --- essentially the same.
The average weaning weight at two weeks of age favored the control litters in
three of the farrowings and the treated litters in four of the farrowings.
There was an overall average weight advantage of 0.18 lb. at weaning for the 750
pigs from treated litters compared to the 689 pigs from control litters. This
difference,although small, when coupled with a slightly larger litter size may
indicate that a response was elicited from feeding the sow the high level of
antibiotic. However, the magnitude is too small to suggest an economic advant-
age under the conditions of this experiment.
Terramycin supplementation did not eliminate scouring in the pigs. Scour-
ing was a minor problem observed in pigs from both groups.
Table 2. THE INFLUENCE OF FEEDING A HIGH LEVEL OF ANTIBIOTIC
DURING THE FARROWING PERIOD ON SOW PERFORMANCE
Date of Number Av. number Av. number Percent Av. weight Av. sow weight
farrow of live pigs pigs weaned' survival of pigs change
litters per litter per litter at weaning pre-farrowing
(2 weeks) to weaning
June, 1962 12 10.92 9.67 88.6 6.80 -67.1
August, 1962 7 11.57 10.00 86.4 7.23 -73.0
October, 1962 11 11.55 10.45 90.5 6.75 -73.8
December, 1962 11 10.45 9.64 92.2 7.64 -80.1
February, 1963 II 11.45 10.09 88.1 8.04 -95.7
April, 1963 8 11.00 9.75 88.6 7.43 -79.8
June, 1963 10 11.80 9.30 78.8 .6.36 -81.3
Average 11.23 9.84 87.8 7.17 -78.8
(Terramycin Supplemented I/)
June, 1962 11 11.09 10.27 92.6 7.52 -73.3
August, 1962 7 11.86 9.29 78.3 7.18 -70.0
October, 1962 12 11.83 10.42 88.1 7.56 -80.4
December, 1962 12 11.58 10.25 88.5 7.17 -82.3
February, 1963 10 12.00 10,80 90.0 7.62 -93.3
April, 1963 10 11.30 10.20 90.3 7.65 -83.9
June, 1963 II 12.64 10.36 81.9 6.75 -82.1
Average 11.75 10.27 87.5 7.35 -81.1
J/ 200 gm. terramycin added per ton of feed.
One hundred and forty-three litters, farrowed in seven separate farrowings
commencing in June, 1962 and ending in July, 1963, were used to evaluate high
level antibiotic supplementation during the farrowing period. Terramycin, fed
at a level of 200 gm. per ton of feed for 3 days prefarrow through 14 days
postfarrow, was the antibiotic studied.
Sow performance data, measured in terms of survival and weaning weights of
pigs at two weeks of age, suggested no significant advantage for this procedure.
The results are almost identical to those of a previous study (2) involving
tylosin. In both experiments a small weight advantage was observed for pigs
from treated sows. This along with the fact that the treated sows weaned more
pigs per litter suggest that the antibiotics were exerting a favorable effect
on weaning weights. However, the antibiotics did not completely control scours
in the young pigs nor minor udder problems encountered in the sows.
1. Wallace, H.D. and G. E. Combs. 1962. Sow productivity as influenced by sea-
son. (a summary of two years data). Fla. An. Sci. Mimeo. Series No. 63-2.
2. Wallace, H. D. and G. E. Combs. 1962.
of the sow during the farrowing period.
High level antibiotic supplementation
Fla. An. Sci. Mimeo. Series No. 63-3.