Our objective was to study the effects of dietary energy source (fat or starch) on periestrus hormone profiles and embryonal survival in primiparous sows. During lactation, 48 primiparous sows were fed either a starch-rich or a fat-rich diet, at either a high (44 MJ NE/d) or a low (33 MJ NE/d) feeding level. After weaning, all sows received the same amount of feed (31 MJ NE/d from weaning to estrus and 17.5 MJ NE/d from breeding to slaughter) of the same dietary energy source fed during lactation. Around estrus, blood samples were taken to analyze the preovulatory LH surge, estradiol (E2), and progesterone (P4). Sows were inseminated on each day of standing estrus. On d 35 after last insemination, all 35 pregnant sows were slaughtered and their reproductive tracts were removed. The number, weight, and length of the embryos and placentas were determined as well as the weight and length of the uterus. The LH, E2, and P4 profiles were similar for the treatment groups, except for the E2 levels at 16, 12, and 8 h before the LH surge, which were lower in the sows fed the fat-rich diet at a low level. Ovulation rate tended to be higher in sows fed the high compared to the low feeding level during lactation (18.0 vs. 16.2; P = .09), but the number of total and viable embryos as well as embryonal survival rate were not influenced by the treatments. Neither uterine length and weight nor length and weight of the embryos and placentas were affected by treatments. However, after removal of the embryo-placental units, uterine weight was greater in sows fed the high than in those fed the low feeding level during lactation (1.8 vs. 1.6 kg; P = .03). Plasma insulin concentration during lactation was not related to any of the uterine, placental, or embryo traits. Mean progesterone concentration between 24 and 250 h after the LH surge was positively correlated with embryonal survival. Differences in progesterone concentration between sows with high and low embryonal survival were evident from 172 h after the LH surge. From the present study, we conclude that altering feeding level during lactation or dietary energy source from farrowing until d 35 of subsequent pregnancy did not affect embryonic development and embryonal survival.
|Journal||Journal of Animal Science|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|