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The effect of body reserves at farrowing on the reproductive performance of first-litter sows

  • B. P. Mullan (a1) and I. H. Williams (a1)


The level of body reserves in first-litter sows was manipulated by giving gilts one of three levels (high (H), medium (M) or low (L)) of food from selection (44 kg live weight) to parturition. The aim of this experiment was either to maintain or to mobilize these reserves during lactation (31·4 days) by feeding sows to appetite (high (H)) or 2·0 kg/day (low (L)).

When the level of body reserves was increased prior to farrowing (171 kg live weight, 32 mm backfat) sows had a lower voluntary food intake during lactation than those animals that farrowed with a low level of body reserves (126 kg live weight, 20 mm backfat) (H-H v. L-H, 3·4 v. 4·9 kg/day; P < 0·001). Both groups had a normal return to oestrous activity after weaning (mean interval between weaning and mating of 14 days) but the heavier animals mobilized more of their body reserves (H-H −30·7 kg live weight, -4·3 mm backfat; L-H -3·6 kg live weight +0·9 mm backfat; P < 0·001). When food intake during lactation was restricted to 2·0 kg/day the interval between weaning and mating was increased by 50% regardless of the level of body reserves present at farrowing. For the same animals, there were insufficient body reserves to support milk production at the same level as for those animals given food t o appetite.



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The effect of body reserves at farrowing on the reproductive performance of first-litter sows

  • B. P. Mullan (a1) and I. H. Williams (a1)


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