Mating is one of the most critical processes influencing the success of any breeding pig enterprise since the efficiency of this process establishes the potential output of pigs. A study was conducted on 100 recently weaned sows during the mating process to determine potential sources of inefficiency.
The study was conducted in a large commercial herd with Large White (LW) x Landrace (LR) first cross sows. 4 genotypes of boar were in use, these being LW, LR, LW x LR and Duroc. The parity of the 100 sows involved in the study ranged from 1 to 9. Sows were housed in small groups of 5 to 6 following weaning at a mean of 18 days post partum and were taken daily to an oestrus detection area to test for standing oestrus (SO). Boars were housed around this area and SO was detected using the back pressure test Within 5 minutes of SO being confirmed, each sow was paired with a boar in a specialist 2.9 v 2.65 m mating pen. This pen had a 15 cm floor covering of sawdust-based deep litter which provided good foothold and comfort Boar-sow behavioural interactions, general behaviour of the mating partners and sow vocalisations were recorded from the first pairing in the pen to the dismounting of the boar following mating.