Colostral milk fat percentage and pig performance are enhanced by feeding the leucine metabolite beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl butyrate to sows

J Anim Sci. 1994 Sep;72(9):2331-7. doi: 10.2527/1994.7292331x.


Three trials were conducted to test whether feeding the leucine metabolite beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl butyrate (HMB) would increase fat content of sows' milk and pig weight gain. All sows received a basal diet and were assigned at random to receive either 2 g of CaCO3/d (control) or 2 g of Ca(HMB)2/d (HMB), which was top-dressed to the basal diet. Treatment began 3 to 4 d before farrowing. In Trials 1, 2, and 3 there were 4, 19, and 11 pairs of sows, respectively. In a combined analysis that included all three trials, milk fat at d 1 was increased by 41% (P = .01) and pig weight at d 21 was increased by 7% (P = .01) for sows fed diets containing HMB compared with sows fed control diets. Sows fed HMB lost more backfat (P = .03); however, sows receiving HMB had more (P < .05) backfat depth at farrowing than control sows. At weaning there was no difference in backfat depth between the treatment groups. Sows fed HMB tended to consume less feed (P = .07) than control sows. In Trials 2 and 3, data were collected on the subsequent reproductive cycles of the sows. A combined analysis of the data revealed no differences in sow performance when sows previously fed the diet containing HMB were compared with sows previously fed the control diet. In conclusion, beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl butyrate, when fed to sows at 2 g/d, resulted in an increase in fat percentage of sow's milk and pig performance.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Colostrum / chemistry*
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified
  • Lipids / biosynthesis*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Random Allocation
  • Swine / growth & development
  • Swine / physiology*
  • Valerates / administration & dosage
  • Valerates / pharmacology*
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Lipids
  • Valerates
  • beta-hydroxyisovaleric acid