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Correct nutrition of both sows and gilts is important in the reproductive process. Consult your feed company or nutritional advisor for advice on types of diets and feeding regimes.

The KEY areas in the reproductive cycle where nutrition can influence reproductive performance are:

IN LACTATION
    1. Sows /gilts must receive maximum intake of nutrients to minimise toss of body condition during lactation. To achieve this, a specialist lactation ration should be used, fed on a recognised scale (e.g. Stotfold scale) up to the maximum level the sow/gilt will eat. Realistically, this will be around 10 kg/head for sows and 8 kg/head for gilts.
    2. Sows/gilts weaned in lean condition, condition score 2 or less (Scale 1-5), will have delayed weaning to oestrus and in fact may take a "rest" until the natural heat 21 days later.
    3. Sows/gilts weaned, having lost excessive weight during lactation, will be in a low nutritional state and may not even respond to "flushing" at weaning.
    4. Ideal body condition score at weaning is 2.5 - 3.5 (Scale 1-5).
AT WEANING
    1. Sows/gifts must he fed maximum rations on day of weaning. It is not the reduction of feed but the cessation of suckling that stimulates the process of returning to oestrus.
    2. "Flushing" of sows on a lactation ration, fed ad-lib or to high appetite, is recommended immediately on weaning, fed through until the sow is served. A rising plane of nutrition between weaning and service is necessary for best reproductive results.
POST SERVICE
    1. Immediately after service, feed levels should be reduced down to 2.25 - 2.5 kg/head/day of typical dry sow ration. This lower level of feed intake will ensure maximum implantation of embryos to the uterine wall and reduce variation in piglet birth weight. Note: it may be considered prudent not to reduce the feed level of individual sows/gilts if their condition is considerably below expectation.
    2. Any body condition improvement following weaning should be achieved between days 21 -> 90 of gestation, though account should always be taken of the condition of the individual.
    3. Feeding gilts prior to first mating is a complicated subject. due to the different regimes operated and should be viewed against the background of unit integration and acclimatisation. This should be discussed in detail with your feed supplier or nutritionist, as these females are the long-term future of the herd and the investment in them should reflect this.

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