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Growth and body condition of sows given different feeding regimes during the rearing stage and through eight parities when housed in groups with straw bedding

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 May 2016

P. H. Simmins
ADAS Terrington, Terrington St Clement, King's Lynn, Norfolk PE34 4PW
S. A. Edwards
ADAS Terrington, Terrington St Clement, King's Lynn, Norfolk PE34 4PW
H. H. Spechter
ADAS Biometrics Unit, Rivershill House, St George's Road, Cheltenham, Gloucester GL50 3EY
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A 2 X 3 factorial experiment was designed to study the consequences of feeding strategy during rearing and pregnancy over eight parities on sow growth and body condition. Two hundred and fifty-four gilts were group-fed on a restricted scale rising to either 2·25 (L) or 2·70 (H) kg/day (12·5 MJ/kg digestible energy (DE), 193 g/kg crude protein (CP) diet) from 70 to 175 days of age. A total of 156 of the L and H gilts were then given either 1·8 (l), 2·1 (m) or 2·4 (h) kg/day during subsequent pregnancies (12·9 MJ/kg DE; 177 g/kg CP diet). The same diet was offered to a standard scale during lactation. Sows were group-housed in pregnancy and given straw bedding. Losses of sows in rearing and each parity were not associated with treatment. After rearing, data have been presented only for those sows which completed eight parities. At 175 days of age, H gilts had grown faster (P < 0·001). From 175 days to service all gilts were given the same feeding regime but L gilts put on significantly more weight than H gilts, exhibiting more efficient utilization of food. There were no statistically significant differences in weights between L and H sows after the third pregnancy but L sows gained more weight than H sows in most pregnancies. The sows grew in each parity, indicating mature body size was not achieved. The pregnancy regimes had a significant (P < 0·05) effect on live weight, P2 backfat measurement, body length, neck circumference and condition score. Pregnancy treatment h produced the heavier and fatter animals but not all treatment l sows maintained adequate backfat levels for six parities. When housed in groups and given a generous supply of straw, the nutritional requirements of sows to sustain growth and body condition suitable for a long life may be less than has been previously identified for sows housed on concrete and slats without bedding.

Research Article
Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 1994

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