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Reprod Fertil Dev. 2011;23(7):889-98. doi: 10.1071/RD11015.

Restricted feed intake in lactating primiparous sows. I. Effects on sow metabolic state and subsequent reproductive performance.

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Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.


The effects of feed restriction (60% of anticipated feed intake; Restrict; n=60) during the last week of a 21-day lactation in primiparous sows compared with feeding at 90% of anticipated feed intake (Control; n=60) on sow metabolic state, litter growth and sow reproductive performance after weaning were compared. Metabolisable energy (ME) derived from feed was lower, ME derived from body tissues was higher and litter growth rate was reduced (all P<0.05) in Restrict sows during the last week of lactation. Treatment did not affect weaning-to-oestrus interval, pregnancy rate, ovulation rate, embryonic survival or the number of live embryos (P>0.05) at Day 30 of gestation: However, embryo weight was greater (P<0.05) in Control than in Restrict sows (1.55±0.04vs 1.44±0.04g, respectively). These data suggest the biology of the commercial sow has changed and reproductive performance of contemporary primiparous sows is increasingly resistant to the negative effects of lactational catabolism. Overall, catabolism negatively affected litter weaning weight and embryonic development of the next litter, but the extent to which individual sows used tissue mobilisation to support these litter outcomes was highly variable.

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