Interactive effects of distillers dried grains with solubles and housing system on reproductive performance and longevity of sows over three reproductive cycles

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An experiment was conducted to evaluate the interactive effects of dietary distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in sow diets and housing systems on reproductive performance and longevity. Sows (311 for parity 0 and 90 for parity 1) were assigned randomly within parity to 1 of 4 treatments and maintained on these treatments for up to 3 reproductive cycles. Sows were fed either fortified corn-soybean meal control diets (CON) during gestation and lactation or diets containing 40% DDGS in gestation and 20% DDGS in lactation and were housed either in individual stalls or group pens with electronic sow feeders during gestation. Sows fed DDGS had smaller (P < 0.05) litter size (born alive, 11.0 vs. 11.6; weaning, 9.8 vs. 10.2) and had more (P< 0.05) stillborns (0.9 vs. 0.7) than sows fed CON. Litters nursing sows fed DDGS gained less weight (P < 0.01) than litters nursing sows fed CON (47.8 vs. 49.8 kg, respectively). Group-housed sows tended to farrow smaller litters (born alive, 11.0 vs. 11.5; P < 0.10) and had fewer pigs at weaning (9.9 vs. 10.2; P < 0.05) compared with stall-housed sows. Litters from group-housed sows tended (P < 0.10) to gain less weight while suck-ling than those from stall-housed sows (48.3 vs. 49.4 kg, respectively). Diet did not affect the percentage of sows that completed each successive reproductive cycle. Stall housing tended to increase (P = 0.06) the completion rate of sows at the second reproductive cycle (80.0 vs. 68.2%) and increased (P < 0.05) the completion rate of sows in the third reproductive cycle (68.9 vs. 55.8%) compared with group housing. Sows fed DDGS produced fewer (P < 0.05) live-born pigs (26.2 vs. 27.4) and tended (P < 0.10) to have fewer pigs weaned (23.7 vs. 24.5) over 3 reproductive cycles compared with sows fed CON. Stall-housed sows farrowed more (P < 0.05) total pigs (30.1 vs. 26.7) and live pigs (28.4 vs. 25.2) and had more weaned pigs (25.2 vs. 23.1) compared with group-housed sows over 3 reproductive cycles. In conclusion, long-term feeding of DDGS decreased litter size and sow productivity but did not affect sow longevity. Long-term housing of sows in group pens decreased litter size, sow longevity, and sow productivity. The detrimental effects of housing pregnant sows in pens were most notable when sows were fed corn-soybean mealbased diets compared with DDGS diets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1562-1573
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Distillers dried grains with solubles
  • Gestation housing
  • Longevity
  • Performance
  • Sow

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