Identifying risk factors for low piglet birth weight, high within-litter variation and occurrence of intrauterine growth-restricted piglets in hyperprolific sows

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This study aimed to identify risk factors affecting PBW, high CVPBW and the occurrence of IUGR piglets in 12 commercial Danish herds with hyperprolific sows using free-access stalls, floor or electronic sow feeding systems in the gestation unit. The following factors were investigated: the duration of previous lactation, the length of the interval from weaning to insemination, the length of gestation, litter size, parity, sow backfat thickness in late gestation and the type of feeding system in the gestation unit. The study included newborn piglets from 452 litters with the following production indicator averages: 21.3 piglets/L, 1235 g PBW, 22.9% CVPBW and 10.9% and 11.8% within-litter occurrence of severe and mild IUGR piglets, respectively. Increasing length of weaning-to-insemination interval decreased PBW by 25.8 g/day. For 2nd to 9th parity sows, each additional piglet in the litter increased CVPBW by 0.38%, the occurrence of severe IUGR piglets by 0.68% and mild IUGR piglets by 0.50%. Sows of 5th parity and older had a 1.39% higher CVPBW and 49.1 g lighter piglets compared with sows of 2nd to 4th parity. PBW was lower in one ESF herd, suggesting complex interactions that need to be further elucidated. The main critical risk factor observed was litter size.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2731
Issue number9
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Feeding system, Gestation, Hyperprolific sows, IUGR piglets, Piglet birth weight, Risk factors, Within-litter variation in piglet birth weight

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