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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Livestock Bio-Systems » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #305653

Title: Measurements of body composition during late gestation and lactation in first and second parity sows and its relationship to piglet production and post-weaning reproductive performance

item Rempel, Lea
item Vallet, Jeff
item Lents, Clay
item Nonneman, Danny - Dan

Submitted to: Livestock Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/18/2015
Publication Date: 8/1/2015
Citation: Rempel, L.A., Vallet, J.L., Lents, C.A., Nonneman, D.J. 2015. Measurements of body composition during late gestation and lactation in first and second parity sows and its relationship to piglet production and post-weaning reproductive performance. Livestock Science. 178:289-295.

Interpretive Summary: The period in a sow’s life with the greatest energy demand occurs while she is nursing a litter of piglets. The current study interrogated the relationship of a young sow’s body condition during late pregnancy and throughout lactation to either her piglets’ performance or her subsequent reproductive capability. Females nursing either their first or second litter of piglets were included in the project. Females nursing their first litter of piglets generally were smaller and weighed less than older females nursing their second litter and lost more body condition during lactation than those nursing their second litter. Since body condition traits were different between dams nursing their first litter in comparison to dams nursing their second litter, we looked at the relationship of body condition traits with piglet performance or reproductive capabilities within each parity. Growth of first litter piglets during nursing was positively related to the first-time mother’s body weight, backfat thickness, loin eye area muscle, and empty body protein and fat masses. Ovulation rate following weaning was positively associated with the empty body protein mass in females nursing their first litter. The findings within this study corroborate the need for enhancing energy intake of the young female nursing her first litter of piglets to improve not only piglet growth but her reproductive competence following weaning as well.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to characterize variation of multiple body condition traits in a white crossbred composite population of first- and second-parity sows and determine if these traits relate to litter production and reproductive parameters. As expected, parity 2 dams were heavier (P < 0.0001; 202.5 ± 1.57 kg vs 174.1 ± 1.35 kg) and had greater (P < 0.0001) empty body protein (30.3 ± 0.22 kg vs 26.5 ± 0.20 kg) and empty body fat (66.2 ± 0.94 kg vs 53.0 ± 0.79 kg) than parity 1 dams. Of interest, parity 2 dams lost more (P = 0.0340) loin eye area from late gestation to weaning (–4.1 ± 0.78 cm2 vs –2.5 ± 0.60 cm2) but had a greater (P = 0.0026) recovery in loin eye area from weaning to post-weaning (2.8 ± 0.76 cm2 vs 0.6 ± 0.59 cm2) versus primiparous females. Parity 1 dams had a negative (P <= 0.05) relationship with ovulation rate among several body condition parameters (average reduction –3.5 ± 1.38 corpora lutea). Body weight, empty body protein, and empty body fat had a positive (P <= 0.05) association with ovulation rate (average 0.13 ± 0.050 corpora lutea). Piglet ADG was positively (P <= 0.05) associated with several body condition measurements (average 1.3 ± 0.35 g). Interactions (P <= 0.05) between parity and backfat thickness at weaning (–0.11 ± 0.023 piglets), post-weaning backfat thickness (–0.12 ± 0.025 piglets), or post-weaning empty body fat (–0.06 ± 0.014 piglets) were negatively associated with size of litter among parity 1 dams. These data impart knowledge on the inherent differences of body composition in less mature primiparous dams versus second parity dams implicating different methods to generate metabolizable energy for lactation and the influence that may have on production and reproductive activity.