Digestibility of calcium varies throughout gestation in sows, study says

URBANA, Ill. – Swine diets are primarily formulated and tested in growing pigs. Studies show the ideal ratio of nutrients, specifically the ratio of calcium to phosphorus, changes slightly but predictably as pigs progress through the growing stage. What’s not well-understood is how calcium requirements change throughout gestation. A recent publication in the Journal of Animal Sciences reveals an important pattern of lower digestibility in gestating sows.

“We saw in an earlier experiment that sows had much lower calcium digestibility than growing pigs. The sows we used in that experiment were in the middle of gestation. Then the question came: Was that because digestibility of calcium during that specific period is particularly low, or is digestibility of calcium low all the time during gestation? That was the background for this work,” says Hans H. Stein, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois and corresponding author on the study.

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