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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 #388282

Research Project: Improving Lifetime Productivity in Swine

Location: Livestock Bio-Systems

Title: Dam parity structure and body condition during lactation influence piglet growth and gilt sexual maturation through pre-finishing

item Rempel, Lea
item Keel, Brittney
item Oliver, William
item Wells, James - Jim
item Lents, Clay
item Nonneman, Danny - Dan
item Rohrer, Gary

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/28/2022
Publication Date: 4/1/2022
Citation: Rempel, L.A., Keel, B.N., Oliver, W.T., Wells, J.E., Lents, C.A., Nonneman, D.J., Rohrer, G.A. 2022. Dam parity structure and body condition during lactation influence piglet growth and gilt sexual maturation through pre-finishing. Journal of Animal Science. 100(4):1-9. Article skac031.

Interpretive Summary: Young female swine have a greater challenge successfully producing and raising a litter of piglets as they are still maturing themselves and nursing is an extremely energy demanding event. Piglet growth during the nursing phase can have extended impact on growth and development later in life. Piglets raised by young first-time mothers were smaller at birth and weaning but grew to similar weight and body composition later in life as their contemporaries raised by older more mature mothers. Young female pigs raised by first-time mothers had similar or better sexual maturity than counterparts raised by mature mothers. These findings indicate that piglets reared by first time mothering dams will not have detrimental effects on maturity and reproductive parameters. Producers can confidently select females that were reared by first-time mothers for the breeding herd without sacrificing quality.

Technical Abstract: Energy demands during lactation greatly influence sow body condition and piglet performance. We hypothesized that primiparous sows or sows with reduced body condition would produce piglets with reduced growth and delayed sexual maturation. Eight weekly farrowing seasons were used to evaluate sow body condition (post-farrowing, PF and weaning, WN) and piglet growth from 157 dams. Body condition was measured at PF and WN using sow calipers (last rib and hip) and 10th rib ultrasound. Sows were categorized as thin, moderate, or fat by caliper (PF or WN). Individual pig weights were recorded on approximately 1, 10, WN, 45, 100, and 145 d of age. At 100 and 145 d of age, 10th-rib backfat and loin eye area were measured on 567 pigs and first estrus was monitored in 176 gilts reserved for breeding selection beginning at approximately 170 d of age. Sows had similar (P > 0.10) PF last rib caliper measurements but at WN, first parity sows had the smallest caliper measurements compared to other parities (P < 0.05). Parities 1, 2, and 3 sows had similar (P > 0.10) loin eye area at PF; however, at WN first parity sows had the smallest loin eye area (P < 0.05; 38.2 ± 0.63 cm2). Parity 1 sows had the greatest (P < 0.05) reduction of backfat and loin eye area over the lactation period (-2.9 ± 0.31 mm and -2.6 ± 0.49 cm2, respectively). At 1 d of age and WN, piglets from first parity sows weighed the least (P < 0.05) but were the heaviest (P < 0.05) at 100 and 145 d of age. Pigs from first parity litters had larger (P < 0.05) loin eye area at 100 and 145 d of age and greater backfat (P < 0.05) at 145 d of age. Fat sows at WN (last rib or hip) had the lightest (P < 0.05) piglets at 10 d of age and WN. However, at 45 d of age, piglets from fat sows (last rib or hip) were heavier (P < 0.05) than piglets from moderate and thin sows. Tenth rib backfat at 100 and 145 d of age tended (P < 0.10) to be less in pigs reared by thin sows (PF and WN hip). Tenth rib loin eye area was similar among pigs reared by fat, moderate, or thin sows. Gilts developed in litters from fourth parity sows had (P < 0.05) delayed age at puberty in contrast to gilts from first or third parity sows (200.9 ± 4.96 d vs. 189.0 ± 2.29 d and 187.5 ± 2.84 d, respectively). Although progeny body weights were typically less from first parity dams through 45 d of age, these progeny were similar or heavier at 100 and 145 d of age in contrast to progeny from other parities. Furthermore, gilt progeny from first parity dams did not have delayed pubertal attainment.