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The mating behavior and reproduction performance in a multi-sire mating system for pigs

Kongsted, A.G. and Hermansen, J.E. (2008) The mating behavior and reproduction performance in a multi-sire mating system for pigs. Theriogenology, 69, pp. 1139-1147.

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An important aim of organic animal production is to allow natural animal behaviour. Regarding reproduction techniques,
artificial insemination is permitted but natural mating is preferred. The outdoor multi-sire system, where the sows are placed in large paddocks with a group of boars, is one example of a service system, which complies well with the organic ideals of facilitating natural animal behavior. However, very little knowledge is available about such system. Seven groups of in total of 47 sows and 31 boars were observed to study the mating behavior in an outdoor multi-sire mating system and the subsequent reproduction results. The time of start of courtship, behavior and the cause of disruption if the courtship was terminated, were recorded each time a boar courted a sow. All aggressive interactions between the boars were also recorded to estimate the boar ranking order. The observations revealed numerous poor quality matings, a huge variation in the number of times sows are mated, and overworked boars. Only 35% of all copulations lasted 2 min or more and 63% of all copulations were disrupted, mainly by competitor boars. The higher social status of the boar, the more copulations did it disrupt ( p < 0.05). The outcome was an unacceptable variation in reproduction results. Only 71% of all estrus sows conceived, corresponding to a pregnancy rate of 77% of all mated sows. A large inter-group variation in reproduction performance was observed, indicating scope for improvements. In some groups all sows showed estrus and
all sows conceived. Recommendations for improvement of the system are proposed.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Multi-sire mating; Mating behavior; Mating quality; Reproduction; Organic production
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:18472
Deposited On:29 Mar 2011 11:20
Last Modified:30 Apr 2013 20:41
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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