Main content area

Contributions of the maternal uterine environment and piglet genotype on weaning survivability potential: II. Piglet growth, lactation performance, milk composition, and piglet blood profiles during lactation following reciprocal embryo transfers between Meishan and White crossbred gilts

Miles, J. R., Vallet, J. L., Ford, J. J., Freking, B. A., Oliver, W. T., Rempel, L. A.
Journal of animal science 2015 v.93 no.4 pp. 1555-1564
Large White, Meishan, albumins, analysis of variance, animal age, animal growth, blood glucose, blood serum, cortisol, crossbreds, crossing, embryo transfer, farrowing, free fatty acids, genotype, gilts, glucose, hematocrit, hemoglobin, lactation, lactic acid, lipid content, mammary glands, milk composition, milk quality, nitrogen, piglets, sows, statistical models, weaning
Crossbreeding studies between Meishan (MS) and Large White (LW) pigs have illustrated that increased piglet growth before weaning is attributed to the maternal genotype of LW dams. The objective of this study was to determine the contributions of the maternal uterine environment (MUE), piglet genotype (PigG), piglet age (PA), and their interactions on piglet growth, lactation performance, milk composition, and piglet blood profiles during lactation following reciprocal embryo transfers between MS and White crossbred (WC) gilts. Twenty-five successful pregnancies were generated by embryo transfer in 2 farrowing years representing all MUE × PigG combinations: MS × MS (n = 4 litters), MS × WC (n = 7 litters), WC × MS (n = 7 litters), and WC × WC (n = 7 litters). At d 1 and 10 and at weaning, piglets (n = 147, n = 96, and n = 94, respectively) were weighed and blood samples were collected and measured for hematocrit, hemoglobin, glucose, nitrogen, NEFA, albumin, lactate, and cortisol. In addition, sows were manually milked from a medial mammary gland to determine milk composition. All data were analyzed by ANOVA using MIXED model procedures with the fixed effects of MUE, PigG, PA, and their interactions. Piglet weight was greater (P < 0.001) in piglets from WC dams compared to MS dams at d 10 and weaning but not at d 1. In addition, ADG were greater (P < 0.05) from piglets from WC dams compared to MS dams throughout lactation. However, milk composition was greater (P < 0.05) for GE and fat content from MS dams compared to WC dams, illustrating differences in milk quality between the breeds. There were significant MUE × PigG × PA interactions for hematocrit and hemoglobin levels in which greater (P < 0.001) levels were observed in MS piglets, irrespective of MUE, at d 1 of lactation and in MS piglets from MS dams at d 10 of lactation. Blood glucose was greater (P = 0.01) at d 1 in piglets from WC dams regardless of PigG but, at weaning, glucose was greater (P = 0.01) in WC piglets regardless of MUE. Serum NEFA levels were greater (P = 0.02) in piglets from MS dams throughout the lactation period. This study demonstrated that WC dams were superior to MS dams for piglet growth during lactation, in agreement with previous crossbreeding studies. However, blood components measured displayed complex interactions between the piglet and maternal breed, which signify possible mechanisms for improved preweaning survivability but slower lactational growth of MS piglets.