The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) annual meeting showcased new research on the importance of iron supplementation for newborn pigs. While not a new concept, the research shows that a second injection of iron has the potential for great added value in a pork operation. But how much iron does a pig truly need?

Piglets grow five times in size from birth to weaning, with their hemoglobin dropping since pigs get little to no iron in sow milk. A second injection can alleviate the iron gap that occurs when pigs run out of iron stores from the first injection but are not yet weaned. An extra dose breeds extra performance, less morbidity and therefore, less mortality in the pig barn.

The researchers studied the impact of a second injection on a total of 144 crossbred pigs. All pigs received an initial 200 mg intramuscular iron injection within 24 hours after birth. The added-injection group of pigs received an additional 200 mg of iron between day 6 and day 8. The results show that the iron advantage continued throughout the pig’s life, resulting in better conditions and higher exit weights.

Read more on the research behind supplemental iron here.