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Induction of lactational estrus in organic piglet production

Kongsted, A.G. and Hermansen, J.E. (2009) Induction of lactational estrus in organic piglet production. Theriogenology, 72, pp. 1188-1194.

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The longer lactation period required in organic piglet producing herds reduces the potential number of produced litters per sow per year compared with that of conventional production. Induction and use of lactational estrus may be a way to increase the productivity in organic production. However, if lactational estrus is to be beneficial under practical husbandry conditions, it is crucial that the majority of sows are successfully mated within a few days to make batch farrowing procedures possible. The objective of this study was to investigate the occurrence and timing of lactational estrus in an organic outdoor system based on ad libitum feeding, individual housing until Day 35 in lactation, followed by grouping and introduction of a boar and weaning of piglets after 8 wk. Five groups with four sows ((Danish Yorkshire � Danish Landrace) � Danish Duroc) in each were observed, and rank was determined by a food competition test. All sows showed lactational estrus, and 84% of these sows showed estrus within 1 wk, on average 43.5 d and 7.3 d after farrowing and boar introduction, respectively. The number of days from boar introduction to estrus increased significantly with increasing feed competition rank (the lowest number being the top rank position). Eighty-four percent of all sows were diagnosed pregnant 5 wk after estrus. Behavioral observations revealed that the average total number of copulations per estrus sow was 2.3 with a range of 0 to 5 copulations. The findings of the current study indicate that it is possible to combine lactational estrus and batch farrowing procedures to increase the number of weaned piglets per year per sow in organic piglet production based on 8 wk of lactation or more.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Lactational estrus; Mating behavior; Organic; Pig production; Reproduction
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Pigs
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF III (2005-2010) > QEMP - Integrity and quality of organic meat and egg
Deposited By: Kirkegaard, Lene/LKI
ID Code:18471
Deposited On:29 Mar 2011 09:50
Last Modified:30 Apr 2013 09:33
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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