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Type: Theses
Title: Managing the lactating sow to stimulate lactation ovulation
Author: Terry, Robyn
Issue Date: 2015
School/Discipline: School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Abstract: In lactation, sows are typically anoestrus, with ovulation occurring three to seven days after weaning at approximately 24 days post-partum. Increasing piglet age to greater than 28 days improves piglet performance and welfare; however, it also results in reduced sow farrowing frequencies, making the commercial adoption of increasing piglet weaning age unsustainable. Stimulating a sow to ovulate in lactation represents a solution as it enables lactation length to be increased whilst maintaining reproductive efficiencies. The aims of the research reported in this thesis were to investigate mechanisms to reliably stimulate a lactation oestrus in multiparous and primiparous sows. Secondly, to determine the effect of these strategies on piglet growth, subsequent pregnancy rate, farrowing rate and litter size. The mechanisms investigated were focused on: reducing the suckling input to the sow through split weaning or low-confinement alternative lactation housing; and fence, or full physical, boar exposure. The importance of a reduced suckling input was demonstrated in Chapter Two. The proportion of sows expressing a lactation oestrus increased as the number of piglets weaned on day 18 of lactation increased from zero, three, five to seven. Additionally, early weaning did not compromise growth of the split weaned piglets, with both early and late weaned piglets experiencing similar body weights by day 40 of age. Chapter Three evaluated the effect of full physical boar exposure commencing at day 10, 14 or 18 postpartum on the incidence of lactation oestrus in primiparous and multiparous sows. A high proportion of multiparous sows expressed a lactation oestrus in response to boar exposure compared to first parity sows; however, the summer months impacted this expression. No benefits of commencing boar exposure before day 18 post-partum on lactation oestrus expression were observed. Chapter Four coupled full physical boar exposure with split weaning of piglets at day 18 post-partum within a commercial piggery. Boar exposure was effective at stimulating a lactation oestrus in multiparous sows whereas primiparous sows require, in addition to boar exposure, a reduction in suckled litter size. A high incidence (24%) of lactating multiparous sows that received no stimulation spontaneously ovulated before weaning resulting in a prolonged weaning to oestrus interval. These results suggest that for the modern sow, weaning is not necessary for ovulation. Lastly, Chapter Five demonstrated that low confinement lactation housing from seven days post-partum, in combination with fence line boar exposure, was not sufficient to stimulate a lactation oestrus. Overall, split weaning to seven piglets in conjunction with physical boar exposure resulted in the highest proportion of lactation oestrus expression with this response greater in multiparous sows than primiparous sows. Season affected the proportion of lactation oestrus expression, and this requires further investigation. Furthermore, the incidence of spontaneous ovulation during lactation suggests that the inhibition of LH release during lactation is less severe in modern genotypes. In conclusion, this thesis has demonstrated that boar exposure effectively stimulates lactation oestrus with a further increase observed when a distinct reduction in the suckling stimulus has occurred, particularly in the multiparous sow.
Advisor: Kind, Karen Lee
van Wettere, William
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) (Research by Publication) -- University of Adelaide, School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 2015.
Keywords: sow lactation oestrus
split weaning
boar exposure
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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