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Forskningsartikel2024Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Iron status in piglets at three days of age and at weaning and possible seasonal effects on the blood haemoglobin levels in a Swedish outdoor pig-producing farm

Fjelkner, Johanna; Sanno, Axel; Emanuelson, Ulf


Background Piglets are born with limited stores of iron, and with an increasing number of live-born piglets, there may be a risk that the sows cannot provide enough iron to their offspring. The iron content in soil may not meet the demands of today's piglet, born and reared in an outdoor setting. The study aimed to describe the blood haemoglobin (Hb) levels in pigs reared outdoors and to determine whether piglets have higher Hb levels at weaning when an iron supplement is administered intramuscularly at three days of age, as compared to pigs not given an iron supplement. The seasonal variation in Hb-levels was also to be investigated. The Hb concentration was analysed with a HemoCue 201 + Hb photometer. Results In total 56 litters (399 piglets) were included in the study and sampled at three days of age, while 378 piglets were sampled at weaning. The mean Hb level at three days of age was 91 g/L (48-154 g/L). In total 47% of the piglets had Hb levels < 90 g/L at three days of age. The mean Hb level at weaning was 127 g/L (76-176 g/L), with a lower level (122 g/L) in the group given the iron supplement than in the group not given an iron supplement (132 g/L). Only 1% of the piglets had Hb levels lower than 90 g/L at weaning. Results indicative of a seasonal effect on Hb levels at three days of age was demonstrated. Piglets born in spring had significantly lower Hb levels, and piglets born in autumn had significantly higher Hb levels. No seasonal effect could be demonstrated for Hb levels at day 33. Conclusions The results indicate that the natural uptake from the environment was sufficient, but that there was a seasonal effect on the Hb levels at three days of age. This indicates that there might be a need for different routines regarding iron supplementation in outdoor reared piglets depending on the climate and season.


Iron deficiency anaemia; Suckling piglet; Swine

Publicerad i

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2024, Volym: 66, nummer: 1, artikelnummer: 13
Utgivare: BMC