Seven research and teaching centres have co-operated in an experiment involving 154 sows. The experiment compared the effect of feeding four different patterns of feed intake during pregnancy upon reproductive performance of sows. In each case approximately 220 kg of feed were given during each gestation according to four patterns of intake designated Constant (C), Low-High (L-H), High-Low (H-L) and High-Low-High (H-L-H). During lactation all animals were given a daily ration of 3·7 kg of feed for litters of five pigs or less, and 0·4 kg for each additional piglet. Wherever possible the sows remained on the same nutritional regimes for three parities.
Although the pattern of feed intake slightly affected the live-weight changes of the sows during the course of pregnancy, the treatments had no significant effects on overall change in weight of the sows in pregnancy or in lactation in any of the three parities. The live weights of the sows at the end of the third parity were very similar for all treatment groups.
The patterns of feed intake had no appreciable or significant effect on the numbers of pigs born, their average weight at birth or upon the numbers of pigs which survived to weaning at 6 weeks or their live weight. The health and breeding regularity of the sows were also unaffected by the treatments.
There were differences between the centres in many of the variables which were compared, but there was no evidence of any important centre × treatment interactions.
It is concluded that, at the levels of intake given in pregnancy and lactation in this experiment, there are no beneficial or detrimental effects of changing the pattern of intake during pregnancy.