Comparative study of the effects of two dietary sources of vitamin D on the bone metabolism, welfare and birth progress of sows fed protein- and phosphorus-reduced diets
To investigate the influence of two dietary sources of vitamin D on the vitamin D status, bone metabolism, welfare and birth progress of gestating and lactating sows, forty-nine multiparous sows were randomly assigned to one of two diets: “CON” (n = 25; 50 μg vitamin D3/kg feed) and “HYD” (n = 24; 50 μg 25-hydroxycholecalciferol/kg feed). The basal diets were protein- and phosphorus-reduced. The trial started on day 3 ante insemination of the sows and ended with weaning of the piglets on day 28 postpartum. Dietary supplementation of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol resulted in improved maternal vitamin D status (p < 0.001), fewer gait changes (p < 0.01) and longer standing time after feeding (day 5 ante partum; p < 0.05) compared to vitamin D3. However, the bone markers CrossLaps and osteocalcin were not affected. Overall, the present results suggest that sows fed 25-hydroxycholecalciferol instead of vitamin D3 showed improved locomotion and stance strength. However, this outcome is probably not related to altered bone metabolism. The underlying mechanisms must be investigated in further studies.