The objectives of this study were to analyze the incidence of different categories of stillborn piglets in relation to genetic merit for farrowing survival of sows and litters and to analyze relationships of total number of piglets born per litter, average BW of the litter, and within-litter variation in BW with genetic merit for farrowing survival of sows and litters. Records of 336 purebred litters, produced by 307 first-to eighth-parity sows, were collected on a nucleus farm in Brouennes, France. Breeding values for farrowing survival were estimated for sows (EBVfs(-)maternal) and litters (EBVfs(-)direct) using a large data set from which information obtained in the current study was excluded. For each litter, BW, number of stillborn piglets (classified as nonfresh stillborn, prepartum stillborn, intrapartum stillborn, and postpartum stillborn), and number of live-born piglets were recorded. Birth weights of stillborn piglets were lower than BW of live-born piglets (P <0.0001), except for prepartum stillbirths. The total number of stillborn piglets per litter and the number of stillborn piglets in each category decreased with increasing EBVfs(-)maternal (P <0.01). An increase in EBVfs(-)direct was also associated with a decrease in the total number of stillborn piglets per litter (P <0.01). This decrease was due to a decrease in the number of nonfresh, prepartum, and postpartum stillborn piglets but not to a decrease in the number of intrapartum stillborn piglets. Probabilities of stillbirth in relation to EBVf(-)maternal were higher than probabilities of stillbirth in relation to EBVf direct. Total number of piglets born decreased with increasing EBVfs(-)direct (P = 0.0003), but was not related to EBVfs(-)maternal. Average BW of the litter (P <0.0001) and within-litter variation in BW (P = 0.05) decreased with increasing EBVfs(-)maternal but were not related to EBVfs(-)direct. Selection for the maternal genetic component of farrowing survival seems a better strategy than selection for the direct genetic component. Selection for the maternal genetic component of farrowing survival reduces stillbirth in all categories and does not affect litter size.
|Journal||Journal of Animal Science|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|
- preweaning mortality