Reproductive cycles in pigs

N.M. Soede, P. Langendijk, B. Kemp

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155 Citations (Scopus)


The oestrous cycle in pigs spans a period of 18–24 days. It consists of a follicular phase of 5–7 days and a luteal phase of 13–15 days. During the follicular phase, small antral follicles develop into large, pre-ovulatory follicles. Being a polytocous species, the pig may ovulate from 15 to 30 follicles, depending on age, nutritional status and other factors. During the luteal phase, follicle development is less pronounced, although there is probably a considerable turnover of primordial to early antral follicles that fail to further develop due to progesterone inhibition of gonadotrophic hormones. Nevertheless, formation of the early antral follicle pool during this stage probably has a major impact on follicle dynamics in the follicular phase in terms of number and quality of follicles. Generally, gilts are mated at their second or third estrous cycle after puberty. After farrowing, pigs experience a lactational anoestrus period, until they are weaned and the follicular phase is initiated, resulting in oestrus and ovulation 4–7 days after weaning. This paper describes the major endocrine processes during the follicular and luteal phases that precede and follow ovulation. The role of nutrition and metabolic status on these processes are briefly discussed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-258
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • growth-factor-i
  • porcine corpora-lutea
  • dietary energy-source
  • 2 feeding levels
  • luteinizing-hormone
  • primiparous sows
  • follicular development
  • estrous-cycle
  • ovulation rate
  • pulsatile release


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