Influence of Dietary Restriction Before and After 10 Weeks of Age on Osteochondrosis in Growing Gilts26 November 2013
Restricted feeding after 10 weeks of age reduced the prevalence of osteochondrosis in breeding gilts in a Wageningen University trial.
Osteochondrosis is one of the main causes of leg weakness causing premature culling in breeding sows and develops in a short time frame in young growing gilts, according to a paper in Journal of Animal Science. Danny de Koning and colleagues at Wageningen University and Research Centre report that dietary restriction may have different effects on osteochondrosis prevalence depending on the age of the gilts.
The aim of their study was to investigate age-dependent effects of dietary restriction, ad libitum versus restricted (80 per cent of ad libitum), on the occurrence of osteochondrosis in gilts at slaughter (26 weeks of age).
At weaning (four weeks of age), 211 gilts were subjected to one of four treatments of a feeding regime. Gilts were administered either ad libitum feeding from weaning until slaughter (AA); restricted feeding from weaning until slaughter (RR); ad libitum feeding from weaning until 10 weeks of age, after which gilts were switched to restricted feeding (AR); or restricted feeding from weaning until 10 weeks of age, after which gilts were switched to ad libitum feeding (RA).
At slaughter, the elbow, hock and knee joints were harvested. Joints were scored macroscopically for articular surface deformations indicative of osteochondrosis.
Gilts in the RA treatment had significantly higher odds of being affected by osteochondrosis than gilts in the RR and AR treatments in the hock joint (OR=3.3, P=0.04 and OR=8.5, P=0.002, respectively) and at animal level (OR=2.5, P=0.001 and OR=1.9, P=0.01, respectively).
Gilts in the AA treatment had higher odds of being affected by osteochondrosis than gilts in the AR treatment in the hock joint (OR=5.3, P=0.01).
According to de Koning and colleagues, their results indicate a possible pathway to reduce the prevalence of osteochondrosis in breeding gilts that will have to last several parities. Switching from restricted feeding to ad libitum feeding after 10 weeks of age increases osteochondrosis prevalence as opposed to restricted feeding after 10 weeks of age.
de Koning D.B., E.M. van Grevenhof, B.F.A. Laurenssen, P.R. van Weeren, W. Hazeleger and B. Kemp. 2013. The influence of dietary restriction before and after 10 weeks of age on osteochondrosis in growing gilts. J. Anim. Sci. 91(11):5167-5176. doi: 10.2527/jas.2013-6591