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AGEWEAN – The effect of weaning age on sow performance over four parities

  • H.L. Edge (a1), K. Breuer (a2), K. Hillman (a3), C.A. Morgan (a4), A. Stewart (a5), W.D. Strachan (a6), L. Taylor (a7), C.M. Theobald (a8) and S.A. Edwards (a1)...

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Weaning pigs from the sow at an older age, when their digestive systems are more mature, has been suggested as an approach to reduce the potentially negative effect of the in-feed antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) ban on the national pig herd. Whilst this approach has been shown to improve feed intake and piglet growth rate during the early postweaning period (Edge et al. 2006) it is also important to consider how changes in weaning age may influence sow productivity and longevity in the herd. The AGEWEAN programme of research followed 570 gilts whose piglets were weaned at either 4, 6 or 8 weeks of age through four successive parities; reproductive performance, litter data and the timing and reasons for any sow being culled from the herd were recorded.

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Edge, H.L., Breuer, K., Hillman, K., Morgan, C.A., Stewart, A.H., Strachan, W.D., Taylor, L., Theobald, C.M., Edwards, S.A. 2006. AGEWEAN – The effect of weaning age on the performance of sows and their progeny in the first parity. Proceedings of the British Society of Animal Science 25.

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