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The influence of dietary protein intake during lactation on the reproductive performance of sows

  • R. M. MacPherson (a1), F. W. H. Elsley (a1) and R. I. Smart (a1)


1. Forty-five Large White gilts were given 2·20 kg daily of a diet containing 14·0% crude protein during three successive pregnancies. During a 6-week lactation they received 5·30 kg daily of one of three diets containing 19·0% (HP), 16·5% (MP) or 14·0% (LP) crude protein.

2. Daily milk yield was estimated on the 10th, 20th, 30th and 40th day of lactation. Milk samples were obtained from the same sows for the determination of protein, fat, lactose and total solids on the 11th, 21st, 31st and 41st day.

3. One sow and litter from each treatment in each lactation was placed in metabolism cages during lactation and estimates of nitrogen and dry matter excretion obtained.

4. As the concentration of protein in the diet decreased the average 42-day gain in litter weight from birth increased significantly in the first lactation. This trend continued in the second lactation although it was not significant but did not appear in the third.

5. There was no marked difference in daily milk yield between treatment groups.

6. There was a significantly greater loss of live weight by the sows on the lower levels of protein in the first lactation. These differences were not significant in the second and third lactations.



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Elsley, F. W. H. and MacPherson, R. M. 1966. The utilization of nitrogen by the lactating sow and her litter.9th int. Congr. Anim. Prod., Edinb.1966. Scient. Progm. Abstr., Eng. ed.: 104.
Elsley, F. W. H., Anderson, D. M., McDonald, I., MacPherson, R. M. and Smart, R. 1966. A comparison of the live-weight changes, nitrogen retention and carcass composition of pregnant and non-pregnant gilts. Anim. Prod. 8: 391400.
MacPherson, R. M., Elsley, F. W. H. and Smart, R. I. 1968. The influence of dietary protein concentration on the lactating sow. Anim. Prod. 10: 236 (Abstr.).
Neilsen, H. 1968. Some results of Danish research into the nutrition of pregnant and lactating sows. Int. Conv. on ‘Technical and Economic Aspects of Pig Feeding.’ Reggio Emilia, Italy, 1967.
O'Grady, J. F. 1967. Some effects of level of feed in pregnancy and quality of feed in lactation on the performance of sows and their litters.Proceedings of a Symposium on the Nutrition of Sows. Pig Industry Development Authority,Nottingham,1967.
Salmon-Legagneur, E. (with Rettagliati, J. and Dewulf, H.) 1964. [Qualitative N requirements of pregnant and lactating sows: comparison of two proteins, fishmeal and groundnut.] Annls Zootech. 13: 5161.

The influence of dietary protein intake during lactation on the reproductive performance of sows

  • R. M. MacPherson (a1), F. W. H. Elsley (a1) and R. I. Smart (a1)


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