Department of Animal Science Florida Agricultural
Research Report No. AL-1974-7 Experiment Station
June, 1974 Gainesville, Florida
WHEAT BRAN AS A SOW RATION INGREDIENT DURING
THE FARROWING AND LACTATION PERIODl/
H. D. Wallace, D. D. Thieu and G. E. Combs2/
The MMA complex problem has been of considerable concern to swine producers
for many years. As intensified confinement farrowing has increased in popularity
the problems associated with mastitis, metritis and agalactia have become more
troublesome. Lack of muscular movement as the sow lies in the same spot hour
after hour certainly could be a contributing factor to the edema of the reproduc-
tive tract and udder congestion. These symptoms in turn appear to be the fore-
runners to the more serious secondary infections and agalactia. To counteract
MMA it is often recommended that the diet contain bulky feed ingredients.
Supposedly these bulky materials improve the internal environment of the animal
by stimulating intestinal activity. The increased contractions of the digestive
tract are said to help prevent fluid accumulation and the congestion associated
with it. However, there is very limited research evidence to support these
The present study was undertaken to determine if adding wheat bran to the
sow diet prior to farrowing and throughout lactation would alleviate or prevent
the MMA syndrome and allow improved sow performance.
Feeding and management of the sows and care of the newborn litters was
similar to that described in a previous report (1). The diets used are presented
in Table 1. Sows were placed on their assigned feeding regimes approximately
three days prior to farrowing and fed for two weeks post farrowing at which time
the pigs were weaned.
Results and Discussion
A summary of the four individual farrowings for the two feeding groups is
summarized in Table 2. In general sow performance was quite good and no marked
differences were evident due to the inclusion of wheat bran in the diet.
1/ Data summarized in this report were taken from swine unit experiment No. 215.
2/ Wallace and Combs, Animal Nutritionists; and Thieu, graduate assistant,
Department of Animal Science.
This public document was promulgated at an annual costiof
$81.60 or .08 cents per copy to inform county' agrccul-
tural directors, ranchers and growers of research'results
in swine management and nutrition.
Department of Animal Science
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences f
Table 1. Composition of Dietsa/
Control Wheat Bran Added
Yellow corn meal 59.15 46.85
Ground whole oats 20.00 20.00
Wheat bran 15.00
Soybean meal (497.) 18.00 15.50
Defluorinated phosphate 2.20 2.20
Iodized salt 0.50 0.50
Trace minerals (CCC 2/ 0.10 0.10
Vitamin premix (UF)-7 0.05 0.05
1/ The two diets were formulated to contaim similar amounts
of protein (16.15%) and similar amounts of calcium
(0.82%). The control diet contained a calculated level
of 0.65% total phosphorus and the wheat bran diet 0.77%.
The diets were not formulated to be isocaloric, hence
the control diet was slightly higher in total energy
and slightly lower in total fiber.
2/ Contained 20% zinc, 10% iron, 5.57 manganese, 1.1% copper,
0.157 iodine, 0.1% cobalt and 2% calcium.
3/ Contained 6,000 mg riboflavin, 20,000 mg niacin, 12,000
mg pantothenic acid, 80,000 mg choline chloride, 10,000
mcg vitamin B12, 2,500,000 IU vitamin A, 400,000 ICU
vitamin D3 and 10,000 IU vitamin E per lb. of premix.
Some variation in performance was apparent but no more than would be expected
from chance allotment when small groups of sows are utilized. There was a
stepwise gradual decrease in pig survival from the February farrowing through
the October farrowing.
An overall summary of the combined farrowings for each feeding group is
found in Table 3. The average number of live pigs farrowed per litter was
significantly greater (P < .05) for the control sows (11.48 vs. 10.84). It is
unlikely that this difference was associated with the feeding of wheat bran
since the wheat bran diet was imposed only three days prior to farrowing. The
difference may have been due to variation in average sow maturity or more likely
to chance allotment. At any rate such a difference would be expected to have
some influence on subsequent production oriented measurements. Pig birth weights,
number of resorbing fetuses, and number of pigs born dead were cuite similar for
the two sow feeding groups. Sow body temperatures reflected no influence from
the wheat bran treatment, nor were there differences in the observed frequency
or severity of MMA. Control sows weaned more pigs (9.98 vs. 9.16) per litter
that were also slightly heavier (8.37 vs. 8.31). There was a significant
(P < .01) difference in pig survival favoring the control sows. This overall
difference in sow productivity favoring the control sows is not readily explained.
Normally larger initial litter size would be reflected in reduced survivability.
Such was not the case in this experiment. It must be assumed that chance allot-
ment of sows was responsible for the difference in performance. At least it is
fair to conclude that adding wheat bran to the diet did not enhance sow perfor-
mance in any respect.
Table 2. Reproductive Performance of Sows as Influenced by the Inclusion of Wheat Bran
in the Farrowing and Lactation Diet
=~~~~ 1 11~ ~ -~
Av. No. Av. No.
pigs born resorbing
per litter per litter
Feb. 1972 14 10.64 3.22 0.21 0.14 9.79 92.0 9.22 -78.9
May 1972 13 10.92 2.97 0.85 1.46 9.00 82.4 7.81 -68.2
July 1972 14 11.14 2.93 1.00 1.07 9.21 82.7 7.92 -74.6
Oct. 1972 9 10.56 2.75 1.00 0.44 8.33 79.0 8.10 -42.1
Table 3. Summary of Sow Reproductive Performance as Influenced by the
Inclusion of Wheat Bran in the Farrowing and Lactation Diet
Control Wheat Bran
Number of litters 48 50
Av. litter number (sow maturity) 2.67 3.02
Av. number of live pigs per litter at birth 11.48* 10.84
Av. wt. per pig at birth, lb. 3.06 2.99
Av. number of resorbing fetuses at birth per litter 0.73 0.80
Av. number of term pigs born dead per litter 0.65 0.74
Av. body temp. (Fo) of sows at farrowingi/ 102.8 102.5
Av. body temp. (Fo) of sows 24 hr. post farrowing/ 104.1 103.9
Incidence of MMA (total number sows affected)1/ 6.0 6.0
Av. number pigs weaned per litter at 2 wks. 9.98 9.16
Av. wt. per pig at 2 wks., lb. 8.37 8.31
% survival of pigs to 2 wks. of age 86.9** 84.5
Av. sow wt. change (3 days prefarrow to 2 wks.
postfarrow) -59.8 -68.3
1/ Measurements obtained on a total of 36 litters only for each group which
consisted of the three most recent farrowings.
P < .05.
** P < .01.
A study, involving a total of 98 litters farrowed over an eight month period,
was conducted to determine the influence of adding 15. wheat bran to the farrowing
and lactation diet on sow performance.
Body temperatures of sows, incidence of MMA, number of pigs weaned per
litter, weight of pigs at weaning and percent survival revealed no advantage
for including this bulky ingredient in the diet under the conditions of this
1. Wallace, H. D., D. D. Thieu and G. E. Combs. 1974. Sow farrowing and
lactation performance as influenced by diet fortification with aureomycin,
penicillin and sulfamethazine. Fla. An. Sci. Research Report No. AL-1974-6.