Split weaning increases the incidence of lactation oestrus in boar-exposed sows

Robyn Terry, Karen L. Kind, Paul E. Hughes, David J. Kennaway, Paul J. Herde, William H.E.J. Van Wettere

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12 Citations (Scopus)


This study evaluated the effect of split weaning and fence-line boar exposure during lactation on the incidence of lactation oestrus. Large White and Large White × Landrace sows (parity 2.9 ± 0.17; mean ± SEM) were housed in conventional farrowing crates from day -4 to 30 post-parturition. Four treatments (n= 18) were used: control (SPW0): continuous lactation of 10 piglets with all piglets weaned on day 30 of lactation; and three split wean (SPW) treatments with 3 (SPW3), 5 (SPW5) or 7 (SPW7) of the heaviest piglets removed from the sow on day 18 lactation. From day 18 lactation all sows received 15. min daily, fence-line boar exposure in a detection mating area. Fewer sows in the SPW0 treatment (56% (10/18)) expressed a lactation oestrus compared to the SPW3, SPW5, and SPW7 treatments (83%; 89%; 94%, respectively). SPW0 sows had a lower subsequent total born compared to SPW5 or SPW7 sows (8.9 ± 1.1 vs. 12.5 ± 1.0 and 13.1 ± 1.1, respectively). Between day 18 and 30 of lactation, sows in SPW5 and SPW7 gained weight (4.5 ± 1.4 and 1.9 ± 1.4. kg, respectively) whereas SPW0 and SPW3 sows lost weight (4.9 ± 1.4 and 2.9 ± 1.4. kg, respectively) (P< 0.05). Split weaned piglets were heavier at day 17 of age by 1.0. kg however by day 40 of age no weight differences were observed between piglets weaned on day 18 compared to day 30 (P< 0.05). In conclusion, split weaning coupled with fence-line boar exposure in late lactation induced lactation oestrus in a higher proportion of sows compared to those suckling a normal litter size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-55
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Boar exposure
  • Lactation oestrus
  • Split weaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology

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