Browsing by Subject "LITTER SIZE"

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  • Peltoniemi, Olli; Björkman, Stefan; Oropeza-Moe, Marianne; Oliviero, Claudio (2019)
    This review aims to describe changes in production environment, management tools and technology to alleviate problems seen with the present hyperprolific sow model. Successful parturition in the pig includes the possibility to express adequate maternal behaviour, rapid expulsion of piglets, complete expulsion of placenta, elimination of uterine contamination and debris, neonatal activity and colostrum intake. We focus on management of large litters, including maternal behaviour, ease of parturition, colostrum production, piglet quality parameters and intermittent suckling. There are also some interesting developments in technology to assess colostrum and immune state of the piglet. These developments may be utilized to improve the success rate of reproductive management around farrowing, lactation and after weaning. We also discuss new insights in how to examine the health of the mammary gland, uterus and ovaries of hyperprolific sows. Finally, we assess the latest developments on breeding and technology of hyperprolific sows, including artificial insemination (AI), real-time ultrasound of the genital tract and embryo transfer (ET). We conclude that 1) for the sow to produce sufficient colostrum, both the behavioural and physiological needs of the sow need to be met before and after parturition. Furthermore, 2) new ultrasound and biopsy technology can be effectively applied for accurate diagnosis of inflammatory processes of the udder and uterus and timing of AI regarding ovulation to improve insemination efficiency. Finally, 3) developments in cryopreservation of germ cells and embryos appear promising but lack of valid oocyte collection techniques and nonsurgical ET techniques are a bottleneck to commercial ET. These latest developments in management of parturition and reproductive technology are necessary to cope with the increasing challenges associated with very large litter sizes.
  • EFSA Panel Anim Hlth Welf AHAW; Nielsen, Soren Saxmose; Sihvonen, Liisa Helena (2020)
    The AGRI committee of the European Parliament requested EFSA to assess the welfare of rabbits farmed in different production systems, including organic production, and to update its 2005 scientific opinion about the health and welfare of rabbits kept for meat production. Considering reproducing does, kits and growing rabbits, this scientific opinion focusses on six different housing systems, namely conventional cages, structurally enriched cages, elevated pens, floor pens, outdoor/partially outdoor systems and organic systems. To compare the level of welfare in the different housing systems and rabbit categories, welfare impact scores for 20 welfare consequences identified from the literature were calculated, taking their occurrence, duration and severity into account. Based on the overall welfare impact score (sum of scores for the single welfare consequences), obtained via a 2-step expert knowledge elicitation process, the welfare of reproducing does is likely (certainty 66-90%) to be lower in conventional cages compared to the five other housing systems. In addition, it is likely to extremely likely (certainty 66-99%) that the welfare of kits is lower in outdoor systems compared to the other systems and that the welfare is higher in elevated pens than in the other systems. Finally, it is likely to extremely likely (certainty 66-99%) that the welfare of growing rabbits is lower in conventional cages compared to the other systems and that the welfare is higher in elevated pens than in the other systems. Ranking of the welfare consequences allowed an analysis of the main welfare consequences within each system and rabbit category. It was concluded that for reproducing does, as well as growing rabbits, welfare consequences related to behavioural restrictions were more prominent in conventional cages, elevated pens and enriched cages, whereas those related to health problems were more important in floor pens, outdoor and organic systems. Housing in organic rabbit farming is diverse, which can result in different welfare consequences, but the overall welfare impact scores suggest that welfare in organic systems is generally good. (C) 2020 European Food Safety Authority. EFSA Journal published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd on behalf of European Food Safety Authority.
  • Pokharel, Kisun; Peippo, Jaana; Honkatukia, Mervi; Seppälä, Arja; Rautiainen, Johanna; Ghanem, Nasser; Hamama, Tuula-Marjatta; Crowe, Mark A.; Andersson, Magnus; Li, Meng-Hua; Kantanen, Juha (2018)
    Background: The highly prolific breeds of domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are globally valuable genetic resources for sheep industry. Genetic, nutritional and other environmental factors affect prolificacy traits in sheep. To improve our knowledge of the sheep prolificacy traits, we conducted mRNA-miRNA integrated profiling of ovarian tissues from two pure breeds with large (Finnsheep) vs. small (Texel) litter sizes and their F1 crosses, half of which were fed a flushing diet. Results: Among the samples, 16,402 genes (60.6% known ovine genes) were expressed, 79 novel miRNAs were found, and a cluster of miRNAs on chromosome 18 was detected. The majority of the differentially expressed genes between breeds were upregulated in the Texel with low prolificacy, owing to the flushing diet effect, whereas a similar pattern was not detected in the Finnsheep. F1 ewes responded similarly to Finnsheep rather than displaying a performance intermediate between the two pure breeds. Conclusions: The identification and characterization of differentially expressed genes and miRNAs in the ovaries of sheep provided insights into genetic and environmental factors affecting prolificacy traits. The three genes (CST6, MEPE and HBB) that were differentially expressed between the group of Finnsheep and Texel ewes kept in normal diet appeared to be candidate genes of prolificacy traits and will require further validation.
  • Peltoniemi, Olli; Oliviero, Claudio; Yun, Jinhyeon; Grahofer, Alexander; Björkman, Stefan (2020)
    This review outlined current management and nutritional strategies arising from the large increase in sow litter size. Breeding goals should be reconsidered, addressing the ever-increasing duration of parturition in this species, which is not sustainable. In addition, attention should be paid to improving the international trade of germ cells and embryos in order to better cope with the challenges of the large litter. Other challenges await, including free farrowing housing and better resilience of sows as they approach farrowing to allow them to cope with the potential heat stress brought about by climate change. Behavioral traits can be useful for diagnosis of abnormal parturition. Sows should be allowed to express nest-building behavior and deviations from normal behavior just before and during the expulsion phase of parturition may indicate problematic cases. In addition, ultrasound technology is very useful, especially during the last third of pregnancy and postpartum, so that the most appropriate actions can be taken with regard to uterine health. Proper feeding management during the last third of pregnancy is crucial for mammary development and appropriate colostrum production. Prevention of constipation through adequate fiber provision and frequent meals prior to the onset of farrowing are important in the hyperprolific sow. Feeding management can be used to promote the immunity of the sow and the newborn. Feeding components, such short-chain fatty acids and yeast derivate, also appears to promote a favorable microbiota of the sow. Neonatal care and management become critical with large litters. The focus should be on situations where the number of piglets is greater than the number of teats. Applications of new technology, e.g. infrared cameras, may be useful in detecting piglets in need of assistance. In addition, such practices as cross fostering and split suckling are necessary when trying to handle the increasing litter size. The on-farm use of a Brix refractometer permits estimation of the quality of colostrum at the individual sow level, thereby allowing the farmer to target actions at specific sows that produce low-quality colostrum.
  • Kauffold, Johannes; Peltoniemi, Olli; Wehrend, Axel; Althouse, Gary C. (2019)
    Simply Summary: Real-time ultrasonography (RTU) has become an essential diagnostic value when assessing female swine reproduction in either individual or groups of animals. Diagnostic application of RTU is applied throughout most stages of production, including gilt development, breeding, gestation and farrowing. Along with its most common use in on-farm assessment of pregnancy status, RTU is also used to troubleshoot disruptions in reproductive performance such as delayed puberty, prolonged wean-to-estrus interval, absence of post-weaning estrus, decreased conception and farrowing rates, vulval discharge, peripartum and puerperal disorders. This review aims to provide an overview on principles and clinical uses of RTU in female reproduction on commercial swine farms. Abstract: Within the past 30 years, through ongoing technology and portability developments, real-time (b-mode) ultrasonography (RTU) has increasingly become a valuable diagnostic tool in assessing the female reproductive tract in swine. Initially applied in swine production to visually determine pregnancy status, RTU use has expanded to include assessment of the peri-pubertal and mature non-pregnant females as well. Transabdominal and transrectal modalities to visualizing the reproductive tract in swine have been reported with the transabdominal approach more common due to the fact of its ease of accessibility, animal/personnel safety, and reduced time to perform. Adjustable frequency transducers are preferred as they allow optimization of image quality at various depths. If a single transducer frequency must be selected, a 5 MHz probe provides the best versatility for visualizing the reproductive tract in swine. Other basic requirements for ultrasound equipment which will be used on commercial swine farms include being light weight and easy to handle, readily cleanable and disinfectable, long battery-life, and good durability. When using RTU for pregnancy determination, diagnosis is based upon a combination of the animal's breeding records, the presence of embryonic fluid, and, depending upon gestational stage, fetal structures. If RTU is used as a diagnostic tool in assessing reproductive problems in an individual or a group of animals, sonographic evaluation of both the uterus and ovaries is performed. Tissues are delineated and assessed based upon their echogenicity, echotexture, and size. Uses of RTU in clinical practice may include assessment of delayed puberty, prolonged wean-to-estrus interval, absence of post-weaning estrus, herd disruptions in conception and farrowing rates, vulval discharge, peripartum and puerperal disorders. This review aims to provide an overview on principles and clinical uses of RTU with respect to application to address female reproductive performance issues in commercial swine operations.
  • Yun, J.; Bjorkman, S.; Oliviero, C.; Soede, N.; Peltoniemi, O. (2018)
    Contents This study examined the extent to which prolonged farrowing and parity are associated with plasma oxytocin concentrations and follicular development of oestrous sows during subsequent insemination. A total of 30 sows were allocated to two groups based on farrowing duration: (i) SHORT (n=14): 159 +/- 29min, (ii) LONG (n=16): 533 +/- 190min. The sows were also divided into two parity classes: (i) YOUNG (n=14): parity 2.5 +/- 0.8, (ii) OLD (n=16): parity 6.4 +/- 2.3. After weaning, the ovaries were examined daily with transrectal ultrasound. On the second day of oestrus, blood samples were collected for oxytocin (OT) assay at -15, -10, -5, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4, +6, +8, +10, +15, +20, +25, +30, +40, +50 and +60min with a boar contact between 0 and +10min. Boar presence stimulated an increase in OT concentrations (p