Relationship between body fat and postweaning interval to estrus in primiparous sows.

Lee J Johnston, R. L. Fogwell, W. C. Weldon, N. K. Ames, D. E. Ullrey, E. R. Miller

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27 Scopus citations


Twenty-two primiparous Yorkshire sows were used to determine whether a minimal threshold of body fat exists below which the return to estrus is delayed. A second objective was to examine the relationship between body fat and interval from weaning to estrus in restricted-fed sows. During lactation (28 d), sows received 7, 9, 11 or 13 Mcal of ME daily to produce a range of sow body fatness at weaning. Intake of all dietary essentials except ME was similar for all sows. Litter size was adjusted to 10 pigs for all sows by d 3 postpartum. Each day from weaning to estrus, sows received 110 kcal ME per kg metabolic body weight plus 1,359 kcal ME per sow. Body fat was estimated at weaning and at first postweaning estrus by deuterium oxide dilution. Last rib backfat depth was determined ultrasonically 24 h postpartum and at weaning. Irrespective of dietary ME intake, percentage body fat at weaning (R2 = .24; P less than .05) and first postweaning estrus (R2 = .03; P greater than .50) accounted for only a small portion of variation in interval from weaning to estrus. Likewise, loss of backfat depth during lactation was not an accurate predictor of interval from weaning to estrus (R2 = .24; P less than .05). The low coefficients of determination (less than .25) suggest that body fat is a minor controller of postweaning interval to estrus. In contrast, dietary ME intake during lactation accounted for the largest portion of the variation (R2; = .48; P less than .01) in postweaning interval to estrus. We conclude that timing of postweaning estrus in primiparous sows is not dependent on a minimal threshold of body fat. Furthermore, effects of lactational ME intake on the postweaning interval to estrus are more pronounced than the effects of body fat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-950
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1989


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