The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of feeding frequency and sow parity based on same rate of maintenance energy intake during gestation on sow performance. One hundred and seventy-seven sows [Topigs Norsvin 70, Landrace × Large White, Topigs Norsvin USA, Burnsville, MN; parity 3.80 ± 0.16; initial BW = 211.34 ± 3.37 kg; backfat (BF) 13.57 ± 0.54 mm] were blocked by parity, balanced for BW, and randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments in a randomized complete block design. Treatments included sows fed corn-soybean meal-based diet 1× daily at 0730 h (control, T1), 2× daily [half ration at 0730 and 1530 h (T2)], or 3× daily [a third portion at 0730, 1130, and 1530 h (T3)], with daily feed quantity kept at 1.25 × maintenance energy intake [100 × (BW)0.75] kcal ME/d. Treatments were imposed from day 30 of gestation. Sows received on average 6,921, 7,129, and 7,399 kcal ME/d from days 30 to 60, days 61 to 90, days 91 to 109 of gestation, respectively. Feeding frequency during gestation had no effect on lactation ADFI (P > 0.10). Sows fed 3× daily during gestation had improved lactation G:F (P = 0.040) compared with sows fed 2× but similar to control sows (P = 0.338). Treatment did not alter BW or BW variations during gestation, lactation, or from days 30 to wean (P > 0.10). Sows fed 2× daily had tendency to gain BF from day 30 to day 109 of gestation (P = 0.053) but tended to lose BF during lactation (P = 0.091) relative to the control sows. Feeding frequency (2× and 3× daily) tended to increase the number of piglets weaned by 0.40 (P = 0.056) and 0.53 (P = 0.098) piglets, respectively, compared with control sows. Sows fed 2× daily during gestation had reduced number of stillborn relative to control sows (P = 0.035). From day 30 to wean, gilts had propensity to lose BF relative to P1+ (P = 0.094), but lost BF compared with P3+ and P6+ sows (P = 0.003). Parity P6+ sows had highest percentage of both 72 h and preweaning piglet mortality than P0, P1+, and P3+ sows (P < 0.05). In conclusion, parity (P6+) had greater lactation BW gain but higher mortalities relative to lower parity sows. Sows fed 2× daily tended to gain BF from days 30 to 109 of gestation and had reduced number of stillborn relative to control sows. It appears that increasing gestation sow feeding frequency from 1× daily to 2× and 3× daily may reduce the number of stillborn and increase litter size at weaning although most of the reproductive traits were not affected.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the staff of Southern Research and Outreach Center (SROC), Waseca, Sow unit, University of Minnesota, for husbandry and assistance with experimental procedures. Research was supported by funds from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (NIFA -2010-04438). Authors declare that they have no conflict of interest or financial conflicts to disclose.
- body weight
- feeding frequency
- isocaloric intake
- pregnant sow
- sow parity
- sow performance