Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Suckling effects in sows: importance for mammary development and productivity*

  • C. Farmer (a1)

Abstract

An understanding of the mechanisms regulating milk yield in sows is crucial for producers to make the best management decisions during lactation. Suckling of mammary glands by piglets is one factor that is essential for development of these glands during lactation and for the maintenance of lactation in sows. The process of mammary development is not static as the majority of it takes place in the last third of gestation, continues during lactation, is followed by involution at weaning and starts over again in the next gestation. During involution, the mammary glands undergo a rapid and drastic regression in parenchymal tissue, and this can also occur during lactation if a gland is not suckled regularly. Indeed, the pattern of regression is similar for glands that involute at weaning or during lactation. Suckling during 12 to 14 h postpartum is insufficient to maintain lactation and the process of involution that occurs in early lactation is reversible within 1 day of farrowing but is irreversible if a gland is not used for 3 days. However, milk yield from a gland which is ‘rescued’ within the first 24 h remains lower throughout lactation. Suckling does not only affect milk yield in the ongoing lactation, but it also seems to affect that of the next lactation. Indeed, non-suckling of a mammary gland in first-parity sows decreased development and milk yield of that gland in second parity. Nursing behaviour of piglets in early lactation was also affected, where changes were indicative of piglets in second parity being hungrier when suckling glands that were not previously used. It is not known, however, if the same effects would be seen between the second and third lactation. Furthermore, the minimum suckling period required to ensure maximal milk yield from a gland in the next lactation is not known. This review provides an update on our current knowledge of the importance of suckling for mammary development and milk yield in swine.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Footnotes

Hide All
*

Prepared from a presentation given at the symposium on Biology of Lactation in Farm Animals held jointly with EAAP 2012 in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Atwood, CS, Hartmann, PE 1995. Assessment of mammary gland metabolism in the sow. III. Cellular metabolites in the mammary secretion and plasma following weaning. Journal of Dairy Research 62, 221236.
Beyer, M, Jentsch, W, Hoffmann, L, Schiemann, R, Klein, M 1994. Studies on energy and nitrogen metabolism of pregnant and lactating sows and sucking piglets. 4. Chemical composition and energy content of the conception products, the reproductive organs as well as liveweight gains or losses of pregnant and lactating sows. Archives in Animal Nutrition 46, 736.
Cross, BA, Goodwin, RFW, Silver, IA 1958. A histological and functional study of the mammary gland in normal and agalactic sows. Journal of Endocrinology 17, 6374.
Dyck, GW, Swierstra, EE, McKay, RM, Mount, K 1987. Effect of location of the teat suckled, breed and parity on piglet growth. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 67, 929939.
Farmer, C, Knight, C, Flint, D 2007. Mammary gland involution and endocrine status in sows: effects of weaning age and lactation heat stress. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 87, 3543.
Farmer, C, Palin, M-F, Hovey, R 2010. Greater milk yield is related to increased DNA and RNA content but not to mRNA abundance of select genes in sow mammary tissue. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 90, 379388.
Farmer, C, Palin, M-F, Theil, PK, Sorensen, MT, Devillers, N 2012. Milk production in sows from a teat in second parity is influenced by whether it was suckled in first parity. Journal of Animal Science 90, 37433751.
Ford, JA Jr, Kim, SW, Rodriguez-Zas, SL, Hurley, WL 2003. Quantification of mammary gland tissue size and composition changes after weaning in sows. Journal of Animal Science 81, 25832589.
Fraser, D, Thompson, BK, Rushen, J 1992. Teat productivity in second lactation sows: influence of use or non-use of teats during the first lactation. Animal Production 55, 419424.
Hacker, RR, Hill, DL 1972. Nucleic acid content of mammary glands of virgin and pregnant gilts. Journal of Dairy Science 55, 12951299.
Harrell, RJ, Thomas, MJ, Boyd, RD 1993. Limitations of sow milk yield on baby pig growth. Proceedings of the Cornell Nutrition Conference, pp. 156–164.
Head, RH, Williams, IH 1991. Mammogenesis is influenced by pregnancy nutrition. Manipulating pig production III. Australasian Pig Science Association, Werribee, Australia, p. 33.
Hurley, WL 2001. Mammary gland growth in the lactating sow. Livestock Production Science 70, 149157.
Illmann, G, Pokorna, Z, Spinka, M 2007. Allosuckling in domestic pigs: teat acquisition strategy and consequences. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 106, 2638.
Ji, F, Hurley, WL, Kim, SW 2006. Characterization of mammary gland development in pregnant gilts. Journal of Animal Science 84, 579587.
Kensinger, RS, Collier, RJ, Bazer, FW, Ducsay, CA, Becker, HN 1982. Nucleic acid, metabolic and histological changes in gilt mammary tissue during pregnancy and lactogenesis. Journal of Animal Science 54, 12971308.
Kim, SW, Easter, RA, Hurley, WL 2001. The regression of unsuckled mammary glands during lactation in sows: The influence of lactation stage, dietary nutrients, and litter size. Journal of Animal Science 79, 26592668.
Kim, SW, Hurley, WL, Han, IK, Easter, RA 1999. Changes in tissue composition associated with mammary gland growth during lactation in sows. Journal of Animal Science 77, 25102516.
Kim, SW, Hurley, WL, Han, IK, Easter, RA 2000. Growth of nursing pigs related to the characteristics of nursed mammary glands. Journal of Animal Science 78, 13131318.
Nielsen, OL, Pederson, AR, Sorensen, MT 2001. Relationships between piglet growth rate and mammary gland size of the sow. Livestock Production Science 67, 273279.
Sorensen, MT, Sejrsen, K, Purup, S 2002. Mammary gland development in gilts. Livestock Production Science 75, 143148.
Theil, PK, Labouriau, R, Sejrsen, K, Thomsen, B, Sorensen, MT 2005. Expression of genes involved in regulation of cell turnover during milk stasis and lactation rescue in sow mammary tissue. Journal of Animal Science 83, 23492356.
Theil, PK, Sejrsen, K, Hurley, WL, Labouriau, R, Thomsen, B, Sorensen, MT 2006. Role of suckling in regulating cell turnover and onset and maintenance of lactation in individual mammary glands of sows. Journal of Animal Science 84, 16911698.
Thodberg, K, Sorensen, MT 2006. Mammary development and milk production in the sow: effects of udder massage, genotype and feeding in late gestation. Livestock Science 101, 116125.
Thorup, F 1998. Kuldudjaevningens betydning for fravaenningsvaegten [The importance of litter standardization for litter weight at weaning]. Erfaring fra Landsudvalget for svin, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Turner, CW 1952. The mammary gland. I. The anatomy of the udder of cattle and domestic animals. Lucas Brothers, Missouri.
Wilde, CJ, Addey, CVP, Boddy, LM, Peaker, M 1995. Autocrine regulation of milk secretion by a protein in milk. Biochemistry Journal 305, 5158.

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed