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Ovarian Activity and Oestrous Signs among Group-Housed, Lactating Sows: Influence of Behaviour, Environment and Production

Hultén, Fredrik; Wallenbeck, Anna and Rydhmer, Lotta (2006) Ovarian Activity and Oestrous Signs among Group-Housed, Lactating Sows: Influence of Behaviour, Environment and Production. Reproduction in Domestic Animals, Volume 41, Issue 5, Page 448-454, Oct 2006, doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0531.2006.00691.x, 41 (5), pp. 448-454.

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Online at: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1439-0531.2006.00691.x


Animal welfare concerns require the development of housing systems that allow the animals to express their natural behaviour. One example of this is the group-housing system for lactating sows. The present study aimed at exploring ovarian activity in such a system. Thirty-eight sows farrowing individually outdoors during spring and summer, and indoors during autumn and winter, and group-housed in groups of four during weeks 3–7 of the lactation period, were monitored regarding reproductive functions, behaviour and production during their first to fourth lactation period. Average ovulation frequency during lactation was 47%. Only 50% of these ovulating cases were accompanied by a standing oestrus. Lactational ovulation frequency was higher in later parities (p < 0.001). Ovulation frequency was higher (p < 0.05) during winter (74%) and spring (69%), than during summer (10%) and autumn (23%). Occurrence of lactational ovulation was associated with some aspects of suckling behaviour and also with litter weight gain (p < 0.05). Forty-nine per cent of the lactational ovulations occurred during the seventh week of lactation. Timing of ovulation seemed positively (p = 0.08) associated with weight loss during lactation. Compared with the sows that were anoestrus during lactation, oestradiol-17β values were higher (p < 0.05) only in the week before occurrence of lactational ovulation. Weaning-to-oestrous interval was prolonged (p < 0.05) among the sows that ovulated during lactation. The present study identifies several factors influencing ovarian activity among group-housed sows, thereby providing tools for the control of lactational ovulation in group-housing systems.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Pigs
Research affiliation: Sweden > Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) > Clinical Sciences
Sweden > Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) > Animal Breeding and Genetics
Deposited By: Wallenbeck, MSc Anna
ID Code:12674
Deposited On:08 Feb 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:36
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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