Interpretive Summary: Gilt development to improve offspring performance and survivability
By: Jamil E G Faccin, Mike D Tokach, Robert D Goodband, Joel M DeRouchey, Jason C Woodworth, Jordan T Gebhardt
Proper gilt development influences offspring performance and survivability by increasing gilt longevity and colostrum and milk production. Gilt development success starts in selecting gilts heavier than 1 kg at birth, prioritizing colostrum and milk intake, and weaning at 24 d of age or older. During the grower phase, attention must rely on nutrition and feeding management to avoid fat gilts at farrowing, promote adequate mammary development, and have structural soundness. Appropriate boar exposure and reaching target weight (135 to 160 kg) at breeding in the second or third estrous can dictate reproductive performance and longevity. During gestation, the whole focus is on body condition. Fat gestating gilts may struggle with leg and feet issues and compromise the litter due to lower colostrum and milk production. Properly developed gilts directly impact livability of their offspring through increased colostrum and milk production. Increased longevity indirectly improves livability because offspring of older sows have improved growth and survival rate compared to offspring of first litter sows.
Read the full article on the Journal of Animal Science.