Energy Metabolism During Late Gestation and Lactation in Muciparous Sows in Relation to Backfat Thickness and the Interval from Weaning to First Oestrus
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica volume 34, pages 9–20 (1993)
Ten crossbred, fourth or fifth parity sows were divided into 2 groups - high (H) and low (L) - according to their backfat thickness 9 days before parturition. Body weight, backfat thickness and litter weight were recorded repeatedly during a 5 week lactation period. The length of the interval from weaning to first oestrus was also noted. All sows were fed a commercial diet (11.9 MJ/kg, 14.5% crude protein). During gestation, daily food intake was 2.2 kg/sow, while during lactation it was 3.0 kg/sow plus 0.4 kg/piglet.
Blood samples were drawn on day 9 before parturition and on days 2,7,14 and 21 of lactation. The samples were analysed to determine concentrations of glucose, urea nitrogen, creatinine, triglycerides, free fatty acids and beta-hydroxybutyric acid. In both groups, concentrations of free fatty acids and urea nitrogen were low on day 9 before parturition while those of triglycerides were high, indicating anabolism regardless of backfat thickness.
During the first week of lactation, concentrations of free fatty acids increased in the H-group but not in the L-group, and concentrations of urea nitrogen were higher in the H-group. These differences, together with the greater loss of weight observed in the H-group, indicate that catabolism of maternal fat and protein depots was more pronounced in the Η-group than in the L-group during this time. On day 14 of lactation, both groups showed equally low concentrations of free fatty acids, decreasing creatinine concentrations and stable triglyceride and urea nitrogen concentrations. Furthermore, weight loss during the second and third weeks of lactation was low in both groups. These facts, taken together, indicate that the catabolic rate was decreasing in both groups during this period. No differences in return to oestrus interval were noted between the groups. The present study indicates that under a restricted feeding regime the catabolic rate during the first week of lactation is higher in sows with higher backfat thickness in late gestation.
As lactation progresses, a more balanced metabolism is achieved regardless of backfat thickness, which may tend to reduce differences in return to oestrous interval.
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This work was supported by grants from the Swedish Council for Forestry and Agricultural Research, the Farmer's Research Council for Information and Development and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
The authors wish to thank Prof. Gösta Bengtsson for inspiring discussions, Dr Lennart Thunberg for valuable advise and Carola Janson for excellent technical assistance.
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Hultén, Ε., Neil, M., Einarsson, S. et al. Energy Metabolism During Late Gestation and Lactation in Muciparous Sows in Relation to Backfat Thickness and the Interval from Weaning to First Oestrus. Acta Vet Scand 34, 9–20 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03548218
- body composition
- free fatty acids
- urea nitrogen