Using CLA in gilt diets to improve piglet survival

Project goal

Development of a protocol for the use of feding conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in lactating gilts

Project summary

Feeding conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) to sows in late gestation and/or lactation has been shown to alter the fatty acid profiles of colostrum and milk and improve piglet growth performance.

This project aimed to determine the best level of CLA inclusion in a top dress for first parity sow diets.

Value for producers:

  • Improved pre-weaning growth
  • Improved piglet survival


  • Pre-weaning mortality was reduced by 1.1% by feeding CLA.
  • Litters from sows fed CLA prior to farrowing were heavier than litters from sows not fed CLA.
  • The ideal feeding strategy for a CLA-based top-dress in primiparous sow diets is 0.2% total CLA isomers, fed one week prior to farrowing (cost is about $0.30 per sow).
  • It is not recommended to feed CLA in excess of 0.2-0.8% of the daily ration, or for longer than 1 week prior to farrowing.
Research enquiries