Improving reproductive performance in gestating and lactating sows through nutrition and management has been the research interest for several decades. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of different levels of feed intake during 4 critical periods of gestation (day 27–34, day 55–62, day 83–90 and day 97–104, respectively) and of housing systems on sow and litter performance. A total of 255 multiparous sows were randomly allotted to 4 dietary treatments. Sows were housed either in individual stalls (n = 129) or group pens (n = 126) with 55 sows in each pen with electronic sow feeder during gestation. One common corn-soybean meal-based diet was fed to all sows with the amount of 1.0 x maintenance energy level of feed intake throughout gestation except 4 periods of 7 d when dietary treatments were imposed on day 27, 55, 83 and 97 of gestation. During these 4 periods, sows were fed 1 of 4 different levels of feed intake: 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 × maintenance energy level (0.5 M, 1.0 M, 1.5 M and 2.0 M, respectively).
Both body weight (BW) gain and backfat (BF) were significantly greater during gestation for sows on 1.5 and 2.0 M levels than sows on 0.5 M and 1.0 M levels. Contrary, lactation weight gain for sows on 1.5 M and 2.0 M levels during the 4 short periods of gestation was less than sows on 0.5 M and 1.0 M levels of feed intake. Average daily feed intake during lactation for sows on 0.5 M level of feed intake during gestation tended to be greater than sows on 2.0 M level. Both piglet weight at birth and at weaning were maximized at 1.5 M level of feed intake, though there were no differences among 4 levels of feed intake in terms of numbers of total born and weaning piglets. Regarding management, sows housed in group pens had greater BW gain from day 27 of gestation to weaning compared with sows housed in individual stalls. However, there were no differences in terms of litter size and piglet weight at birth and at weaning. Increasing levels of feed intake can increase BW and BF gain during gestation and lead to less BW gain and more BF loss during lactation. Moreover, a 1.5 M level of feed intake magnifies piglet weight at birth and at weaning.
Ren, P., Yang, X.J., Railton, R., Jendza, J., Anil, L. and Baidoo, S.K. 2018. Effects of different levels of feed intake during four short periods of gestation and housing systems on sows and litter performance. Animal reproduction science, 188, pp.21-34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2017.11.001