Interpretive Summary: The effect of moderate energy and protein restriction during gilt development on changes in body weight and backfat depth and subsequent lactation performance
By: Nicole Gregory, Chantal Farmer, Robert M Friendship, Lee-Anne Huber
Gilt development feeding programs are important to ensure that the female grows at an appropriate rate, without becoming overconditioned or developing locomotion issues. Moreover, between 90 d of age and puberty is the first phase of rapid mammary development, which is necessary to support milk production after farrowing and which can be negatively impacted by reduced energy and protein intakes. Increasing the dietary fiber content is a means to reduce energy intake, to slow growth rates, and to minimize excessive body fat gains. In this study, it was demonstrated that providing a high-fiber feeding program during the gilt development period controlled body weight (BW) and backfat thickness at breeding, while subsequent lactation performance was not impacted. Therefore, a high-fiber feeding program could be used in group-housing gilt-development scenarios where feed is offered ad libitum, in order to control BW and fatness prior to breeding, without influencing milk production in the subsequent lactation period.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.