Department of Animal Science Florida Agricultural
S Mimeo Series No. AN70-5 Experiment Station
SJanuary, 1970 Gainesville, Florida
S'70- 5- INFLUENCE OF .HIGH DIETARY LEVELS OFVITAMIN D ON
PERFORMANCE OF YOUNG AND GROWING-FINISHING SWINE
G. E. Combs and H. D, Wallace!'
The preventive and curative properties of vitamin D for rickets and other
bone abnormalities has been recognized for several decades. The current practice
of raising swine in confinement decreases their opportunity of obtaining vitamin D
by action of the sunlight on the skin which consequently may increase the need for
supplemental dietary vitamin D.
The present study was conducted to compare the performance of pigs that were
fed diets containing relatively small amounts of calcium and phosphorus and zero,
adequate or excessive levels of supplementary D2 in the absence of sunlight.
Vitamin D2 was added to corn-soy diets to provide 0, 900, 9,000 or 90,000 I.U.
per pound of feed. All pigs were housed in completely enclosed concrete floored
pens. Feed was supplied ad libitum in self feeders and water by automatic waterers.
The test period was divided into 3 separate phases:
Phose I Forty pigs weaned at 3 weeks of age allotted to 4 treatment groups.
Each treatment consisted of 2 replicated pens of 5 pigs each. This phase was
of a 7 week duration. The composition of the diets fed is presented in Table 1
Phase II All pigs in replication 2 were removed from test at the end of phase
I. The remaining 20 pigs (replication 1) continued on their respective treat-
ments for a 5 week period. The composition of the diet fed during this phase
and during phase 3 is presented in Table 1.
Phase III At the end of phase 2 all but 1 pig in each treatment was removed
from test. The remaining 4 pigs were littermates and were continued on their
I/ Combs and Wallace, Animal Nutritionists, Animal Science Department.
respective diets-'for an addit ona twee A the rin h of this phase
the 4 remaining pigs were slaughtered and the femur bones removed for analysis.
At the end of each phase blood samples were drawn for determination of cal-
cium, phosphorus, cholesterol and urea"'nitrogen.'
Results a'd Discdusi'on
The results of this study are summarized "in Table 2.'
Phase I During the inittAl:'7 weeks of the'experiment the average daily gain,
daily feed consumption, feed efficiency, blood urea nitrogen and serum cholesterol
was not significantly (P < .05) different'aofiog'trea'tieht groups. Significant
(P < .05) differences in serum calcium' re 'und: amng treatments but no trend
with dietary vitamin D was established. piIgs which received Oor 90,000 I.U./lb.
had the highest concentration of serum calcium while the lowest concentration was
found with the group receiving 9,000' I.U. vitamin D/lb. With serum' phosphorus
significant (P,< .05) treatment'differences were 'lsb found and a trend toward in-
creasing phosphorus concentrations with 'increasing' levels of supplemental vitamin
D was evident. Pigs that were fed 90,b00O .U. vitamin D/lb. had significantly
higher serum phosphorus levels than those given 0 supplemental vitamin D.
Phase II Level'of detary'vitamin Ddid not'sigificantly (P < .05) influence
rate of gain, 'eed intake, feed efficiency, blood urea nitrogen, or serum calcium
with pigs fed diets containing 0, 960, ,600 or 90,000 .U. vitamin D/lb. for a
period of 12 weeks. Pigs fed the diet containing 9,000 I.U. of D/lb. had signifi-
cantly (P < .05) higher cholesterol levels than those given either 900 or 90,000
:';" : g'e' 0 supplemental vitamin
I.U. vitamin D/lb. In contrast to phase I, pigs given 0 supplemental vitamin D
had significantly (P < .05) higher phosphorus levels' han those given 900 or 9,000
I.U./b. The 0 and 90,000 groups were not"'3sgnrificaitly (P < .05) different.
Phase III Since only 1 pig per .di'tar: 'treaitmeit was used in this phase
statistical analysis of the data was not possible. However it is evident that
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the high levels of vitamin D did not. materially influence rate or efficiency of
gain. The magnitude of differences in blood urea nitrogen and serum phosphorus
was quite large but no trend with respect to level of supplemental vitamin D was
apparent. The femur ash percent decreased slightly with increasing .levels of
dietary vitamin D. In general the pig that received 0 supplemental vitamin D had
a higher percentage of ether extractable material in the femur than the pigs given
supplemental vitamin D.
Pigs weaned at 3 weeks of age were fed fortified corn-soy diets supplemented
with 0, 900, 9,000 or 90,000 I.U. vitamin D2 per pound for a period of 17 weeks.
These pigs were housed in the absence of sunlight and fed ad libitum in self-feeders
Rate and efficiency of gain did not .differ: significantly (P < .05) among the
treatment groups. The practical implication of this finding is that the intentional
or inadvertent omission of vitamin D from diets containing approximately 0.5% calcium
and phosphorus does not materially influence pig performance. Also quantities of
vitamin D several hundred times that of the pigs requirement does not adversely
influence rate and efficiency of gain.
Table 1. Composition of Diets Fedl/
Ingredient Phase 1 Phase 2 and 3
Ground yellow corn 50.10 79.40
Soybean meal (50%) 34.00 17.70
Cane sugar 10.00
Defluorinated phosphate 1.00 1.1
Limestone 0.50 0.4
Iodized salt 0.50 0.50
Trace minerals2/ 0.10 0.10
Vitamin suPylements3/ 0.20 0.20
Antibiotic/ 0.10 0.10
Vitamin D premix 0.50 0.50
1/ Diets contained 0.55% calcium and 0.52% phosphorus.
2/ Supplied the following in ppm: Mn, 57; Fe, 70;
Cu, 4.8; Co, 1.6 and Zn, 100.
3/ Vitamins were added to provide per pound of diet the
following: vitamin A, 1400 I.U.; riboflavin, 4.4 mg.;
pantothenic acid, 10 mg.; niacin, 20 mg. and vitamin
B12, 9 mcg.
4/ Contained 40 gm. of Aureomycin per pound.
Table.,2. Influence of High Dietary Levels Of
Vitamin D2 On Performance of Swine
.Feed/ Blood Serum
gain Urea Cioles-
Ib, N terol
I.U. D /lb.
Means in same column within phases bearing different superscript letters differ
significantly (P < .05).