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Sows with high milk production had both a high feed intake and high body mobilization

  • A. V. Strathe (a1), T. S. Bruun (a2) and C. F. Hansen (a1)
Abstract

Selection for increased litter size have generated hyper-prolific sows that nurses large litters, however limited knowledge is available regarding the connection between milk production, feed intake and body mobilization of these modern sows. The aim of the current study was to determine what characterized sows with high milk production and nursing large litters, differences between sows of different parities and effects of lactational performance on next reproductive cycle. In total 565 sows (parity 1 to 4) were studied from 7 days before farrowing until weaning. On day 2 postpartum litters were standardized to 14 piglets. Weight and back fat thickness of sows were measured at day 7 prepartum, day 2 postpartum and at weaning. Litters were weighed at day 2 and at weaning. Pearson correlation coefficients between variables were calculated and regression models were developed. The average daily feed intake (ADFI) of the sows was 6.1±1.1 kg/day, average daily gain (ADG) of the litter was 2.92±0.53 kg/day and sows weaned 13.0±1.1 piglets. First parity sows generally had a lower ADFI and milk production and a decrease in total born piglets in next litter compared with parity 2 to 4 sows, which could be explained by a relatively higher proportion of their body reserves being mobilized compared with multiparous sows. The ADG of the litter was positively related by ADFI of the sows, litter size and BW loss and increasing the ADFI with 1 kg/day throughout lactation likely increased the ADG of the litter with 220 to 440 g/day in parity 1 to 4, respectively. Increasing the ADFI by 1 kg/day reduced the BW loss with 6.6 to 13.9 kg of parity 1 to 4 sows, respectively, during lactation, whereas increasing the average milk yield with 1 kg/day raised the BW loss with 4.3 to 21.0 kg of the four parities during lactation. The number of total born piglets in the next litter was positively related to the number of piglets born in the previous litter. In conclusion, both a high feed intake and a high mobilization of body reserves was a prerequisite for a high milk production. The sows might be very close to the physical limit of what they can ingest and future research should therefore, focus on optimizing the dietary energy and nutrient concentrations of diets for lactating hyper-prolific sows and herein distinguish between primiparous and multiparous sows.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
E-mail: cfh@sund.ku.dk
References
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animal
  • ISSN: 1751-7311
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