There were a few surprises when we received the diet analysis back from the lab, and we believe a few nutritional factors may further explain the low percentage of stillborns observed in this study. Sows fed the transition diet tended to have a shorter wean-to-estrus interval than sows fed the lactation diet. Given the relatively low lactation feed intake of these sows, one may speculate the diet containing soybean oil helped sows meet their essential fatty acid requirements. However, the transition diet purposely confounded several technologies. Hence, one cannot clearly relate one piece of the transition diet to a given parameter.
Sows from the young puberty genetic line tended to have a greater feed intake during lactation when compared to old puberty line females. Young puberty sows also had a greater percentage of females exhibiting estrus by day 7 after weaning when compared to the old puberty genetic line (80% vs. 57%). This adds to the slim body of evidence suggesting younger puberty females experience less seasonal infertility than older puberty animals. Yet, further work in this area is needed.
We would like to thank the NCDA&CS Tidewater Research Station for their continued partnership, help and support. Contact Mark Knauer with questions.
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