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The reproductive pattern and potential of free ranging female wild boars (Sus scrofa) in Sweden

Malmsten, Anna, Jansson, Gunnar, Lundeheim, Nils, Dalin, Anne-Marie
Acta veterinaria scandinavica 2017 v.59 no.1 pp. 52
Sus scrofa, body weight, carcass weight, dietary supplements, environmental factors, estrus, farrowing, fetus, litter size, ovulation, population dynamics, pregnancy rate, reproductive success, seasonal variation, sows, uterus, wild boars, Sweden
BACKGROUND: The number and spatial distribution of wild boars (Sus scrofa) has increased remarkably in Sweden as well as in other European countries. To understand the population dynamics of the wild boar, knowledge of its reproductive period, oestrus cycle and reproductive success is essential. The aim of this study was therefore to describe the seasonal reproductive pattern and reproductive potential of a wild boar population in Sweden. The study was based on findings from macroscopic examinations of the reproductive organs from 575 hunter-harvested female wild boars (>30 kg body weight). Samples were collected between December 2011 and December 2015 in the southern and middle parts of Sweden. The age of the sampled animals was determined and dressed weight was noted. The stage of the reproductive cycle was defined according to ovarian structures and in relation to the appearance of/and findings in the uterus. The crown-rump length (CRL) of the embryos/foetuses was used to calculate the oestrus/mating month and month for the expected farrowing. RESULTS: The macroscopic examination revealed a seasonal variation of reproductive stages, although cyclic and pregnant females were found in all seasons. Moreover, the estimated oestrus/mating and farrowing months based on the CRL showed that mating and farrowing may occur ‘off-season’. The average litter size (no. of embryos or foetuses) per pregnant female was 5.4. Sow weight and age had significant effect on both the reproductive potential (ovulation rate and litter size) and pregnancy rate, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The reproductive potential in the studied wild boar population was high compared to studies from other countries and farrowing may occur ‘off-season’. This suggests that the environmental conditions in Sweden, including supplemental feeding, are favourable for wild boar reproduction.