The birth weight of the piglet has an important influence on many aspects of later performance. There are, for example, relations between birth weight and growth rate as well as between birth weight and litter traits at farrowing (Rydhmer, Eliasson, Stern, Andersson and Einarsson, 1989). In a shorter perspective, birth weight affects piglet survival during the first weeks of life.
High Utter size (number born) is a common breeding goal. Piglet weight is related to the number of piglets in the Utter. Piglet weight is also related to survival; thus mortality increases with litter size.
The aim of this work was to study variation in piglet weight, some factors that may influence piglet weight and relations between litter size, piglet weight and piglet survival.
Individual piglet weights were registered in 747 litters from an experimental farm. Of the 8134 piglets born, 2326 were Swedish Yorkshire, 239 Swedish Landrace, and the rest were crosses between these two breeds. One-third of the piglets were born in gilt litters. The piglets were creep fed from the 2nd week and weaned at 6 weeks of age. They were individually weighed at birth and at 3, 6 and 9 weeks of age. Birth weight in this report refers to the weight of all piglets born, including those stillborn.