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Lactational performance, nursing and maternal behavior of Upton-Meishan and Large White sows

Farmer, C., Palin, M. F., Sorensen, M. T., Robert, S.
Canadian journal of animal science 2001 v.81 no.4 pp. 487-493
Large White, Meishan, energy content, lactation, lactose, maternal behavior, milk, milk yield, piglets, sows, suckling, weaning
The growth of litters from 19 Upton-Meishan (UM) and 16 Large White (LW) sows was recorded from birth to weaning (25 d of age). Water and feed intake of sows were recorded. Suckling behavior was studied on days 5 and 20 of lactation. Milk yield was measured on day 22 and a milk sample was obtained the next day. Water intakes were similar (P = 0.947) for both breeds, yet UM sows consumed less feed throughout lactation (P = 0.0002). Average piglet (P < 0.05) and total litter (P < 0.001) weights were greater as of day 7 in UM compared to LW sows. Mean piglet weight on day 24 was 6.13 ± 0.16 kg for UM litters and 5.33 ± 0.33 kg for LW litters. Suckling interval was similar for UM and LW litters on day 5 (P = 0.533), but was shorter for UM litters on day 20 (41.4 ± 1.2 vs. 48.3 ± 2.8 min; P= 0.060). On day 22, daily milk yield corrected for actual suckling interval was greater (10.59 ± 0.47 vs. 8.03 ± 0.65 kg; P = 0.003) in UM sows. Milk from UM sows contained more fat (P= 0.042) and lactose (P = 0.005). In conclusion, the greater growth rate of piglets from UM sows is mainly due to a higher frequency of nursings and to greater energy content of milk. Key words: Sows, lactation, breed, Meishan, behavior, nursing