Gestation and Boar Nutrition

Gestation is the name given to the period of time after breeding and before farrowing. During gestation, fertilized embryos travel to the sow's uterus, where they attach to the uterine lining. These attachments will eventually form umbilical cords through which the developing piglets get nutrients for growth from the sow. During the 114 days between breeding and farrowing, each of the microscopic embryos (up to 15 or more) grows into a piglet weighing 2.5 or 3 pounds!

Sows don't need much special care during most of gestation. However, reducing stress during the first month or two of gestation can help to increase litter size by reducing the number of fertilized embryos that die and are reabsorbed by the sow.

If allowed, gestating sows will eat a lot more feed than they really need to maintain body condition and develop the fetuses for their next litter. Sows and gilts are normally limit-fed during gestation. This means giving each sow a certain amount of feed each day to maintain or slightly increase body condition.

Boars are typically fed a gestation diet at about the same rate as gestating sows. No special feed is required for a boar.

Gestating sows should be limit fed according to body condition. The feed should be about 14% crude protein with a source of fiber. There are strategies to feeding groups of gestating sows so that each gets her daily allotment of feed. Boars can be fed gestation feed.