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Relationships between day one piglet serum immunoglobulin immunocrit and subsequent growth, puberty attainment, litter size, and lactation performance

J. L. Vallet, J. R. Miles, L. A. Rempel, D. J. Nonneman, C. A. Lents
Journal of animal science 2015 v.93 no.6 pp. 2722-2729
adults, animal growth, blood serum, breeding, colostrum, digestive system, estrus, farrowing, gilts, herds, immunoglobulins, ingestion, lactation, litter size, males, monitoring, neonatal development, neonates, piglets, progeny, puberty, reproductive performance, weaning
Colostrum affects gut and uterine gland development in the neonatal piglet, suggesting that subsequent growth and reproductive performance may be affected. Measuring immunoglobulin in piglet serum using the immunoglobulin immunocrit on Day 1 of age provides a simple, inexpensive indication of the amount of colostrum acquired by the piglet in the first day of life. Relationships between serum immunoglobulin immunocrit measures and subsequent growth rates, age at puberty, incidence of puberty failure, litter size, and lactation performance were examined in pigs born and subsequently farrowing between 2009 and 2013. Immunoglobulin immunocrit measures were collected on 16,762 piglets on Day 1 of age. Of these piglets, BW measurements were available from 15,324 (7,684 males and 7,640 females) piglets at a range of ages from weaning to 200 d of age, allowing an assessment of growth rates. Age at puberty was recorded from a subset of 2,857 of the females after observing them for estrous behavior from approximately 170 to 250 d of age. To examine relationships between d 1 immunocrit and puberty failure, gilts with immunocrit measures that failed to reach puberty (n = 119) were matched with littermate gilts with immunocrit measures that achieved puberty (n = 167). Similarly, number born alive was collected on a subset (n = 799) of females from first to fourth parities for which d 1 immunocrits were measured on them as neonates. Finally, d 1 immunocrit effect on adult lactational competence was assessed by measuring litter average immunocrit (offspring of 440 females) and litter average piglet preweaning growth rate (offspring of 774 females) in females where d 1 immunocrits were available from them as neonates. Results indicated that low d 1 immunocrits were subsequently associated with reduced growth (P < 0.01), increased age at puberty (P < 0.01), reduced number born alive (P < 0.05), reduced litter average immunocrit (P < 0.05), and reduced litter average preweaning growth rate during lactation (P < 0.05). This suggests that management efforts to improve the amount of colostrum ingested by neonatal piglets would result in beneficial changes in production efficiency, particularly for gilts destined for the breeding herd. It also suggests that the immunoglobulin immunocrit can be useful in monitoring colostrum ingestion to maximize the beneficial effects of colostrum on subsequent performance.