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The effects of immunization against gonadotropin-releasing hormone on growth performance, reproductive activity and carcass traits of heavy weight gilts

  • L. A. Rodrigues (a1), F. R. C. L. Almeida (a2), J. V. Peloso (a3), F. N. A. Ferreira (a4), J. Allison (a5) and D. O. Fontes (a4)...

Abstract

Heavy weight gilts commonly show signs of oestrus during the late finishing phase, which results in a period of reduced feed intake and growth rate. Immunization against gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) (IM, immunocastration) was developed for finishing boars and recently extrapolated to females. Immunocastration acts by suppressing reproductive activity and improving the growth potential. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of IM on growth performance, reproductive activity and carcass characteristics of late finishing gilts. Seventy-two gilts (63.49 ± 0.39 kg) were either injected with saline (Intact) or immunized against GnRH (Immunized). The study consisted of three experimental periods: between the first to second immunization (V1 to V2, 15 to 19 weeks of age), from the second immunization to the beginning of daily boar exposure (DBE) (V2 to DBE, 19 to 21 weeks of age) and from the beginning of DBE to slaughter (S) (DBE to S, 21 to 25 weeks of age). Immunized gilts showed an overall increase (from 15 to 25 weeks) of 3.90 kg (P < 0.05) of live weight, 56 g (P < 0.05) of average daily gain (ADG) and 250 g (P < 0.001) of average daily feed intake (ADFI). Immunized gilts had a greater ADFI (+240 g, P < 0.05) and worse feed conversion ratio (+0.26, P < 0.05) from 19 (V2) to 21 weeks of age (before DBE). Furthermore, those females had higher feed intake (+410 g; P < 0.001) plus greater daily weight gain (+92 g; P < 0.05) from V2 to S, and from DBE to S (+470 g of ADFI, P < 0.001; +129 g of ADG, P < 0.01, respectively). Immunocastration had no effect on backfat thickness, lean meat percentage and weight, cold carcass yield or loin depth (P > 0.05). Immunized gilts showed 4.4% increased cold carcass weight (P < 0.01) and 10.6% greater gross flank weight (P < 0.001). Immunization against GnRH did not influence shoulder, collar, loin, belly or ham weights. Nor did it influence belly fat thickness, or meat, skin plus fat and bones yields of cold ham (P > 0.05). Immunocastration reduced ovarian and uterine weights by 82% (P < 0.001) and 93% (P < 0.001), respectively, and suppressed oestrus manifestation in all gilts in the immunized group (P < 0.001). These results indicate that immunization against GnRH is a promising tool for stimulating growth performance with no detrimental effects on carcass quality of heavy weight finishing gilts, by means of oestrus suppression.

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The effects of immunization against gonadotropin-releasing hormone on growth performance, reproductive activity and carcass traits of heavy weight gilts

  • L. A. Rodrigues (a1), F. R. C. L. Almeida (a2), J. V. Peloso (a3), F. N. A. Ferreira (a4), J. Allison (a5) and D. O. Fontes (a4)...

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