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Fertility of Sows Fed ad libitum with a High Fibre Diet During Pregnancy

Peltoniemi, OAT, Tast, A., Heinonen, M., Oravainen, J., Munsterhjelm, C., Hälli, O., Oliviero, C., Hämeenoja, P., Virolainen, JV
Reproduction in domestic animals 2010 v.45 no.6 pp. 1008-1014
ad libitum feeding, crates, energy content, estrus, high fiber diet, lactation, piglets, pregnancy rate, progesterone, reproductive performance, sow feeding, sows, weaning
The effect of ad libitum (ADLIB) feeding strategy on the fertility of the group housed sow was studied in a prospective field trial during 1.5 years. All study animals farrowed under standard farrowing circumstances in crates, and they were provided with an ad libitum feeding throughout the 30‐day lactation. After weaning, animals were randomly allocated to one of the two dry sow feeding strategies (AD LIB or CONT). After oestrus detection in groups, they were artificially inseminated and moved into pregnancy pens with partially slatted floor, in groups of 40 sows each. The ADLIB sows (n = 447) were loose housed and provided with ad libitum access to 7.7 MJ/kg feed high in fibre from two feeders per group. The control sows (n = 479; CONT) were also loose housed and given a standard dry sow feed in feeding stalls once a day (2.5 kg/day. The energy content of the feed was 9.3 MJ/kg NE). The feeding strategy (ADLIB vs CONT) had no effect on pregnancy rate (85.8 vs 90.9, p > 0.05), weaning to oestrus interval (7.7 vs 7.3 days, p > 0.05), piglets born alive (11.5 ± 3.5 vs 11.6 ± 3.3, p > 0.05), stillborn piglets (1.2 ± 1.8 vs 0.9 ± 1.5, p > 0.05) nor on progesterone concentration (p > 0.05). CONT sows weaned more piglets (9.7 ± 2.2 vs 9.4 ± 2.0, p < 0.01), whereas the piglets of AD LIB sows were heavier at weaning (8.8 ± 0.9 vs 8.0 ± 1.3 kg, p < 0.05). In conclusion, ad libitum feeding with a high in fibre diet during pregnancy did not affect the reproductive performance.