Comparative digestibility of energy and nutrients in diets fed to sows and growing pigs

Jessica E. Lowell, Yanhong Liu, Hans H. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this research was to compare values for digestible energy (DE) and metabolisable energy (ME) and apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of nutrients in 11 diets fed to both growing pigs and gestating sows. Three diets were based on corn, wheat or sorghum and eight diets were based on a combination of corn and soybean meal, canola meal, conventional distillers’ dried grains with solubles, low-fat distillers’ dried grains with solubles, corn germ meal, corn bran, wheat middlings or soybean hulls. A total of 88 gestating sows (252 ± 24.2 kg BW; parity two to six) and 88 growing barrows (40 ± 4.7 kg BW) were used and randomly allotted to the 11 diets with eight replicate sows or pigs per diet. Faecal and urine samples were collected for 4 d following a 19 d adaptation period. The DE, ME and ATTD of gross energy (GE), acid detergent fibre (ADF), neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and crude protein (CP) in the 11 diets were calculated. Gestating sows had greater (p < 0.05) ATTD of GE and CP and DE values for all diets compared with growing pigs. Gestating sows also had greater (p < 0.05) ME values than growing pigs for the three grain diets and the diets containing wheat middlings and soybean hulls. No differences were observed in ATTD of ADF and NDF between gestating sows and growing pigs for any of the diets, except that gestating sows had greater (p < 0.05) ATTD of NDF than growing pigs when they were fed the four protein diets. The ATTD of GE and CP and DE values in gestating sows may be predicted by using equations generated from the values of ATTD of GE and CP and DE values obtained in growing pigs. Results of this research indicate that ATTD values of CP and GE obtained in gestating sows are greater than the values obtained in growing pigs, but values for ATTD of ADF obtained in growing pigs are not different from values in gestating sows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-97
Number of pages19
JournalArchives of Animal Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2015


  • digestibility
  • energy
  • gestation
  • growth period
  • nutrients
  • pigs
  • prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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