Being too thin in late pregnancy is not a good thing for mammary development.
Greater mammary development, hence increased number of cells that secrete milk, means more milk produced in lactation. But what can be done to optimize mammary development in late-pregnant gilts? It was recently shown that body condition of gilts affects their mammary development. A gilt that is too thin (12-15 mm backfat thickness at the P2 site of the last rib) on day 110 of gestation has less milk-secreting tissue (parenchymal tissue) in her udder than a gilt with 17 to 26 mm backfat. This difference was achieved by feeding varying amounts of feed throughout gestation (1.30, 1.58 or 1.83 times the maintenance requirements). Such findings are important to assist producers in maximizing potential milk yield of first parity sows and demonstrate that body condition must be considered. Feeding regime in gestation therefore has an impact on subsequent lactation performance of primiparous animals.
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