Embryo survival, progesterone profiles and metabolic responses to an increased feeding level during second gestation in sows

L.L. Hoving, N.M. Soede, H. Feitsma, B. Kemp

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8 Citations (Scopus)


This study describes reproductive and metabolic responses in sows fed at two different feeding levels from day 3–35 of second gestation. After insemination, 37 sows were assigned to one of two treatments: 1) Control: 2.5 kg/day of a gestation diet; 2) Plus Feed 3.25 kg/day of a gestation diet (+30%). Sow weight, back fat and loin muscle depth were measured at farrowing, weaning, start of treatment, day 14 after start treatment and end of treatment. Frequent blood samples were taken for progesterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), glucose and insulin, insulin-like-growth-factor-1 (IGF-1), non-esterified-fatty-acids (NEFA) and urea analysis. At day 35 after insemination sows were euthanized and their reproductive tract collected to assess ovarian, embryonic and placental characteristics. Plus Feed sows gained 5.4 kg more weight and 0.9 mm more back fat and tended to be heavier at slaughter compared to Control sows (193 vs. 182 kg, P = 0.06). No difference in loin muscle gain was found. Treatment also did not affect vital embryonic survival, which was 72.1 ± 3.9% for Control and 73.4 ± 3.2% for Plus Feed sows, resulting in, respectively, 15.9 ± 0.9 and 15.7 ± 0.7 vital embryos. No effect of treatment on any of the ovarian, embryonic or placental characteristics was found. Progesterone profiles during the first month of gestation, and LH characteristics at day 14 of gestation were not different between treatments. Progesterone concentration was lower (P <0.05) 3 h after feeding compared with the prefeeding level on days 7–11 after first progesterone rise for Plus Feed and on days 8–10 after first progesterone rise for Control sows. At day 15, preprandial glucose and insulin concentrations were not different between treatments, insulin peaked later (48 vs. 24 min) and at a higher concentration in Plus Feed than in Control sows. Furthermore, glucose area under the curve (AUC) tended to be lower (-171.7 ± 448.8 vs. 1257.1 ± 578.9 mg/6.2 h, P = 0.06, respectively) for Plus Feed vs. Control sows. IGF-1 concentration was not different between treatments, but NEFA concentrations were lower for Plus Feed vs. Control sows (149.5 ± 9.2 vs. 182.4 ± 11.9 µm/L, respectively, P = 0.04) and urea concentration tended to be higher in Plus Feed than in Control sows (4.3 ± 0.1 vs. 3.9 ± 0.1, respectively, P = 0.13). None of the metabolic parameteres were related to reproductive measures. In conclusion, feeding 30% more feed from day 3 till d 35 of second gestation increased weight gain and resulted in lower NEFA concentrations, but did not affect progesterone, LH or IGF-1 and embryonic and placental characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1557-1569
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • dietary energy-source
  • growth-factor-i
  • early-pregnancy
  • reproductive-performance
  • primiparous sows
  • multiparous sows
  • parity sows
  • postweaning performance
  • conceptus growth
  • nursing behavior

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