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Effect of feed intake during late development on pubertal onset and resulting body composition in crossbred gilts

, : Effect of feed intake during late development on pubertal onset and resulting body composition in crossbred gilts. Journal of Animal Science 70(12): 3774-3780

A total of 105 nonboar-exposed, F2 ([Landrace X Yorkshire] X Duroc) gilts were used in two replicates of a randomized complete block experiment to evaluate the effect of dietary feed intake on pubertal onset and subsequent body composition. Feed intakes were established at 50% of ad libitum (AL-50), 75% of ad libitum (AL-75), or at ad libitum (AL-100) levels from 4.5 to 9 mo of age. A corn-soybean meal diet fed to all gilts was formulated to meet or exceed nutrient requirements except for energy. Puberty was measured by two methods: 1) monitored once daily by back pressure applied by the herdsman or 2) from elevated plasma progesterone concentrations. Body composition was evaluated by the deuterium oxide method after plasma progesterone concentrations were elevated. Daily feed intake for the experimental period averaged 1.6, 2.3, and 3.2 kg, and the BW of gilts at 8 mo of age were 111, 131, and 154 kg for the AL-50, AL-75, and AL-100 groups, respectively. Body weight, backfat thickness, and body fat content increased linearly (P < .01) as feed intake increased, but age at puberty was not severely influenced. A minimum body fat content or percentage did not seem to initiate pubertal onset. There was a trend for a lower percentage of the AL-50 gilts to ovulate (P = .08) than those fed the AL-75 and AL-100 intakes. An inverse relationship resulted between the percentage of gilts that ovulated to the percentage that showed behavioral estrus. The percentage of gilts that ovulated was highest and the percentage that showed estrual behavior was lowest as feed intake increased. These data suggest that age had a greater effect on pubertal onset than did BW or body fat content, but energy restriction at approximately 50% of ad libitum levels tended to reduce the onset of ovulation. As feed intakes increased, behavioral estrus was more difficult to detect.

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Accession: 002355631

PMID: 1474015

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