TROPICAL ANIMAL HEALTH AND PRODUCTION; Vol.45 2; 505-510
The aim of the present study was to investigate feed allowances, body weight (BW), haematocrit, haemoglobin, plasma ionised calcium (iCa), sodium, potassium, pH and glucose concentration and faecal K/Na ratio in local growing pigs, sows and piglets kept by small-holder farmers in Laos. Starting hypotheses were that (1) local pigs are under fed, (2) BW is higher in pigs receiving supplementary feed and (3) the blood profile of pigs subjected to very poor nutrition is outside the normal range. On 54 pig-keeping smallholdings in Borikhamxay province, Lao PDR, daily feed allowances were weighed and BW recorded for 27 lactating sows, 54 piglets and 27 growing pigs. Blood samples were collected from the vena jugularis in all pigs. Feed supplementation did not affect BW, but plasma iCa concentration was outside the normal range for all pigs. There was a tendency for lower faecal K/Na ratio in Na-supplemented sows. The results confirm that local pigs in small-scale production systems in Laos suffer from poor nutrition. The most important challenge for farmers appears to be provision of more feed, particularly feed with a high Ca content.