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Studies on the energy metabolism of the pregnant sow: 2. The partition and utilization of metabolizable energy intake in pregnant and non-pregnant animals

  • W. H. Close (a1), J. Noblet (a1) and R. P. Heavens (a1)

Abstract

1. The heat losses and energy and nitrogen balances of pregnant gilts, and of their non-pregnant litter sisters (controls), were measured for periods of 7 d at feed intakes of 1.8 or 2 3 kg/d (20 or 30 MJ metabolizable energy (ME) respectively) at an environmental temperature of 20°. The measurements were made within three separate periods of gestation; 40–60 d (early), 60–80 d (mid) and 90–110 d (late). Values for ME intake, heat loss, energy retention (ER), protein deposition and fat deposition were determined for both the pregnant and control animals on each treatment.

2. When expressed per kg body-Weight 0.75 per d, there was little difference in heat loss between pregnant and non-pregnant animals and between pregnant animals at the different stages of gestation at any given ME intake. However, heat loss was higher at the higher ME intake.

3. ER vaned inversely with heat loss. The decrease in ME intake (kJ/kg body-Weight 0.75 per d) during pregnancy resulted in a decrease in ER so that the pregnant animals were in negative energy balance at the low feed intake during late gestation. From the relation between ER and ME intake, estimates of the maintenance energy requirement (MEm) of 411 and 401 kJ/kg body-weight0.75 per d were calculated, with corresponding partial efficiencies of energy utilization (k) of 0.74 and 0.68 for the pregnant and non-pregnant animals respectively.

4. For the pregnant animals, protein deposition was highest during mid-pregnancy and was relatively independent of level of feeding during mid- and late pregnancy. There was little difference in protein deposition between pregnant and non-pregnant animals at the high feed intake. At the low feed intake, the pregnant animals generally had a higher protein deposition than their non-pregnant litter sisters and this was entirely associated with the accretion in reproductive tissue.

5. Fat deposition depended on the level of feeding, and at any given ME intake was similar for pregnant and control animals. In late gestation the low level of feeding was insufficient to prevent the pregnant animals losing fat. It was calculated that at term these animals lost 140 g fat/d from maternal stores.

6. From the relation between ME intake and protein and fat deposition, estimates of ME, and the energetic efficiencies of protein (k,) and fat (k,) deposition were determined. There was little difference in ME, (422 and 420 kJ/kg body-weight 0.5 per d) and k, (0.88 and 0.90) between pregnant and non-pregnant animals respectively. However, the pregnant animals had a higher k, (0.69 compared with 0.49 for controls) and this reflected the higher rates of protein deposition associated with pregnancy.

7. The efficiency of energy deposition in the reproductive tissue was calculated to be 0.72.

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