A Guide to Gilt and Sow Nutrition | UFAC UK
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A gilt and sow nutritional programme should be designed to meet the nutrient demands for adequate protein growth and skeletal and reproductive development. 

Ensuring the well-being of sows and gilts is vital in enhancing farm performance in all production phases of your farm business. 

Nutrition is key throughout a pig’s lifetime and is particularly important for the breeding females of the herd to achieve optimum piglet production and growth. Optimal feeding of sows and gilts is necessary to support maintenance, foetal growth, maternal energy reserves and more.

A gilt and sow nutritional programme should be designed to meet the nutrient demands for adequate protein growth and skeletal and reproductive development.  With the right feed supplements, UFAC can help you lower production costs by producing prolific and profitable sows and gilts. 

Gilts Vs Sows

A gilt is a female pig that has not yet given birth to piglets, while a sow is a female pig that has given birth to at least one litter of piglets. Gilts are usually bred after puberty and before farrowing, which is the process of giving birth to piglets.


What are the nutrient requirements for Gilts?

Gilts have additional nutritional requirements to ensure they achieve full development of the body. If the protein and amino acid requirements are not met during gilt development, a delay in the age at which the gilt reaches puberty may occur. Most finishing diets have adequate concentrations of protein (15% crude protein) and amino acids (0.7% total lysine or 25g daily) to satisfy the developing gilt. 

What are the nutrient requirements for Sows?

Today’s sow requires a much more nutrient-dense diet based on her body composition, growth pattern and feed intake. 

Sow feeding requirements vary depending on their different life stages. Larger herds typically have a gestation diet for pregnant sows and a lactation diet for suckling sows. However, in smaller and less commercial herds, some farmers tend to feed one diet and pay more attention to the amounts fed to their sows. If you are looking to feed all of your Sow’s one diet, it is recommended that you feed them in a high-low-high pattern. This means;

Weaning to Service

This means feeding your sows extra protein during the weaning to service period to assist with fertility and to restore body condition. 

Three weeks after service

Feed can be reduced to a steady amount at this stage for most of the gestation period. It is important to maintain sow body condition and foetal growth but to avoid making the sow overweight.

End of gestation

It is recommended that you increase feed allowance towards the end of gestation to support rapid foetal growth near the end of pregnancy. This increased feeding will need to meet the lactation and increasing piglet demand. 

Omega-3 fatty acids in Gilt and Sow nutrition

Omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) are essential nutrients for animal metabolic functions. They help maintain cell membrane fluidity and permeability, which is necessary for cells to function properly. In sows and gilts, dietary supplementation of n-3 PUFAs during gestation and lactation may have several benefits, including:

  • Improve reproductive performance in sows
  • Increase litter size
  • Helps programme pigs during prenatal and early postnatal periods, affecting future growth and reproduction

With omega 3 supplementation, researchers have observed an increased, rapid return to oestrus, better embryo survival, and larger litter size in older parity sows, enhanced longevity and lifelong performance. Others have reported reduced response to immune stress challenges in piglets, better feed intake, and live weight gain. Elsewhere, high anti-inflammatory markers have been recorded in the colostrum and milk from sows-fed fish oil, leading to higher weaning weight and survival rate.

How can UFAC help?

A high-quality breeding herd nutrition and feeding programme can fit into the management scheme of any operation and will more than likely improve productivity. The more feed you can get into the sow when she is in the farrowing crate, the better the body condition, both physically and nutritionally, when it comes time to breed her back. 

Good lactation performance is not just a post-farrowing process but encompasses the entire reproductive cycle. Success in pork production necessitates an efficient and well-managed breeding herd programme.


UFAC recommend using megajule as a source of energy and supporting a lean carcass and a blooming coat in gilts and sows. 

Megajule is UFAC’s blended fat supplement used to optimise energy supply for ruminant and monogastric diets. Its unique blend of specially selected vegetable and fish oils supplies a balanced fatty acid profile to maximise energy supply. Optimising these nutrients helps meet energy needs, allowing gilts and sows to achieve their genetic potential, bringing in significant financial benefits.


UFAC’s omegapro can be used as a protein source for gilts and sows due to its special blend of carefully selected marine oils, amino acids, glucose and minerals on a base of soya and vegetable protein. 

omegapro supplies high levels of highly digestible amino acids as well as glucose and minerals. It also provides preformed omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA from marine sources, essential for health and vitality in piglets. Omegapro is an ideal fishmeal replacer.


UFAC recommend feeding gilts and sows mycotrap. mycotrap is UFAC’s independently tested and enhanced broad-spectrum mycotoxin adsorbent for all classes of livestock.

mycotrap incorporates specific activated clay minerals with added glucose pre-cursor, glycerine, to provide enhanced toxin control and improved liver function. mycotrap demonstrates proven, effective performance in binding mycotoxins throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract, therefore reducing their overall negative effect on animal performance.

Interested in learning more about UFAC products? Fill out the form below, and a member of our team will be in touch with more information, or contact our Regional Business Managers directly.


Steve Willats

M: 07827 249157

South West and Wales 


Richard Lapthorne 

M: 07788 963 487

North England and Scotland 


James Hastings-Molyneux 

M: 07538 763 832

South East and Midlands