Poorer lifetime growth performance of gilt progeny compared with sow progeny is largely due to weight differences at birth and reduced growth in the preweaning period, and is not improved by progeny segregation after weaning.
Craig, J. R.
Collins, C. L.
Bunter, K. L.
Cottrell, J. J.
Dunshea, F. R.
Pluske, J. R.
Journal of Animal Science; Nov2017, Vol. 95 Issue 11, p4904-4916, 13p
Gilt progeny (GP) are born and weaned lighter than sow progeny (SP) and have higher rates of mortality. This study aimed to quantify the performance and survival differences between GP and SP throughout the entire production cycle from birth to sale. Furthermore, the study looked at the effects of segregating GP and SP compared with commingling during rearing within common pens. It was hypothesized that GP would be lighter than SP at every age and have lower rates of survival accompanied by higher rates of medication, and that segregating GP and SP would improve the growth and survival of both groups. All progeny born to 109 gilts (parity 1) and 94 sows (parities 2 to 8) were allocated to 4 postweaning treatments at birth: GP separately penned, GP mixed with SP in a common pen (GM), SP separately penned, and SP mixed with GP in a common pen (SM), with littermates split among treatments. The GM and SM pigs were penned together after weaning. Individual live weight of all progeny was recorded at birth (birth weight [BWT]), weaning (28 d; weaning weight [WWT]), 10 wk of age (10- wk weight [10WT]), and sale (22-23 wk; sale weight [SWT]). Individual HCW, backfat depth, loin depth, and dressing percentage were measured at slaughter. All postweaning mortalities and medications were recorded. The GP had a lighter BWT (P = 0.032), WWT (P < 0.001), 10WT (P < 0.001), and SWT (P < 0.001) than SP as well as a lower HCW (P < 0.001) and dressing percentage (P = 0.012). Postweaning performance differences were mostly attributable to the lighter WWT of GP compared with that of SP when WWT was fitted as a covariate. The GP had a higher mortality in the immediate postweaning period (weaning to 10 wk of age; P = 0.028) and from weaning to sale (P = 0.012) than SP, which was also attributable to lower WWT. The GP exhibited a higher incidence of mortality (P = 0.011) due to respiratory tract infection in the grower-finisher period, despite similar medication rates (P = 0.83). Segregation of GP and SP between pens presented no benefit in terms of growth and survival of both groups while requiring added labor and production considerations and, therefore, is not recommended. This study confirms that GP are lighter than SP, on average, at every stage of life from birth to slaughter and that their performance before weaning is an important determinant for whole-of-life performance. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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