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An increased feed intake during early pregnancy improves sow body weight recovery and increases litter size in young sows
- Hoving, L. L., Soede, N. M., van der Peet-Schwering, C. M. C., Graat, E. A. M., Feitsma, H., Kemp, B.
- Journal of animal science 2011 v.89 no.11 pp. 3542-3550
- backfat, birth weight, diet, farrowing, farrowing rate, feed intake, feeding level, insemination, litter size, piglets, pregnancy, protein content, reproductive performance, sows
- This study evaluated the effect of feeding level and protein content in feed in first- and second-parity sows during the first month of gestation on sow BW recovery, farrowing rate, and litter size during the first month of gestation. From d 3 to 32 after the first insemination, sows were fed either 2.5 kg/d of a standard gestation diet (control, n = 49), 3.25 kg/d (+30%) of a standard gestation diet (plus feed, n = 47), or 2.5 kg/d of a gestation diet with 30% greater ileal digestible AA (plus protein, n = 49). Feed intake during the experimental period was 29% greater for sows in the plus feed group compared with those in the control and plus protein groups (93 vs. 72 kg, P < 0.05). Sows in the plus feed group gained 10 kg more BW during the experimental period compared with those in the control and plus protein groups (24.2 ± 1.2 vs. 15.5 ± 1.2 and 16.9 ± 1.2 kg, respectively, P < 0.001). Backfat gain and loin muscle depth gain were not affected by treatment (P = 0.56 and P = 0.37, respectively). Farrowing rate was smaller, although not significantly, for sows in the plus feed group compared with those in the control and plus protein groups (76.6% vs. 89.8 and 89.8%, respectively, P = 0.16). Litter size, however, was larger for sows in the plus feed group (15.2 ± 0.5 total born) compared with those in the control and plus protein groups (13.2 ± 0.4 and 13.6 ± 0.4 total born, respectively, P = 0.006). Piglet birth weight was not different among treatments (P = 0.65). For both first- and second-parity sows, the plus feed treatment showed similar effects on BW gain, farrowing rate, and litter size. In conclusion, an increased feed intake (+30%) during the first month of gestation improved sow BW recovery and increased litter size, but did not significantly affect farrowing rate in the subsequent parity. Feeding a 30% greater level of ileal digestible AA during the same period did not improve sow recovery or reproductive performance in the subsequent parity.