Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Animal and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Merlin D. Lindemann


The objective of these studies was to evaluate the effect of piglet nursing location on weaning weight, and its dependence on essential oil supplementation on sow and piglet performances.

Piglets that nursed anterior teat pairs had heavier weaning weights and higher gain for the lactation period. Additionally, piglet birthweight did not impact their overall teat selection and nursing location. These results provide some insight into the biological aspects of sow milk production, and implied that milk yield may vary between teat pairs along the udder line.

Supplementation of essential oils (EO) during late gestation and lactation had no effect on sow fecal dry matter (DM), immunoglobulin content of colostrum and milk, but it did increase the lactose content in milk from sows supplemented with EO, with an increase from 5.84% to 5. 97% (P = 0.04). There was an increase in sow weight loss during lactation (P = 0.002), and there was a significant effect on piglet birthweight, with sows supplemented with EO producing heavier piglets at birth, 1.56 kg in EO sows, compared to 1.49 kg in the control (CON) sows (P = 0.03).

Overall, piglet weaning weight is impacted by their selected nursing location along the udder line. Supplementation of EO may have limited effects on sow performance, such as fecal dry matter (DM) but may positively impact piglet birthweight. Furthermore, including EO into sow diets during late gestation and lactation can potentially impact the nutrient levels of sow milk.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)