The Effect of Moderate Energy and Protein Restriction During Gilt Development on Body Composition and Subsequent Lactation Performance
The feed intake, growth rate and body condition of a gilt prior to breeding can influence lactation performance and longevity in the breeding herd. The overall objective was to explore a high-fibre gilt development feeding program as a means to control body weight and composition at breeding and to determine subsequent effects on lactation performance. The high-fibre diet reduced the body weight and backfat depth of gilts at mating when fed during the development period of 90 to 190 days of age (breeding), even when feed was provided ad libitum. By the end of gestation and during lactation, treatment differences in body weight and backfat were negligible. No differences in litter characteristics or piglet growth rates pre- and post-weaning were observed. The use of a high-fibre feeding program could be utilized to control the growth of developing gilts without impairing subsequent litter characteristics or lactation performance.