Effect of Birth Weight and Sex on Pre-Weaning Growth Rate of Piglets
Abstract. A study was conducted to find out the effect of birth weight and sex on growth rate of piglets in pre-weaning period. A total of 466 piglets from 48 litters of multiparous sows (Landrace) were involved in the experiment. Using a clustering approach piglets were assigned into three birth weight groups (Heavy (H), Intermediate (I), Light (L)). For the analysis of growth performance, pigs were weighed every 7 days until weaning at 28 days of age and average daily gain (ADG) was calculated. During lactation, body weight of L piglets was 5.5-fold increased, whereas the increase in I and H piglets were only 4.7-fold and 3.4-fold, respectively. Piglets of L group were significantly lighter at all studied ages compared to piglets of I and H group. The highest ADG was noted in the second week for all three groups; thereafter it decreased in H and L piglets (24% and 17%, respectively). The average birth weight of piglets was positively and significantly correlated with body weight at days 7, 14, 21 and 28. Sex did not affect significantly the ADG of the investigated animals during the four weeks of lactation. The present results indicate that neither milk production after the second week of lactation nor consumption of creep feed are sufficient enough to cover nutrition needs of fast growing piglets. There’s still a lack of optimization of nutrition in pre-weaning period especially for heavier piglets with their higher growth potential.