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Mammary gland growth as influenced by litter size in lactating sows: impact on lysine requirement.

  • Kim, S W
  • Osaka, I
  • Hurley, W L
  • Easter, R A
Published Article
Journal of animal science
Publication Date
Dec 01, 1999
PMID: 10641879


Twenty-eight primiparous sows were used to determine the effect of litter size on the growth of mammary glands and nursing pigs during lactation. Litter size was set to 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 pigs by cross-fostering immediately after birth. Four sows were allotted to each litter-size group. Sows were allowed to consume a daily maximum of 13.6 Mcal ME and 46.3 g of lysine during lactation. Sows were slaughtered on d 21 (20.6+/-1.1) of lactation. Mammary glands were collected at slaughter and trimmed of skin and the extraneous fat pad. Each gland was separated, weighed, and ground for chemical analysis. Dry matter, dry fat-free tissue (DFFT), crude protein, ash, and DNA contents were measured. Only glands known to have been nursed were included in the data set. Wet and dry weights and the amounts of DFFT, protein, DNA, ash, and fat in individual nursed mammary glands linearly decreased (P<.05) as litter size increased. Percentages of DFFT, protein, and DNA were quadratically affected (P<.05) by litter size on d 21 of lactation. Total mammary wet and dry weights and total DFFT, protein, DNA, fat, and ash amount of all nursed mammary glands of each sow were increased as litter size increased (P<.05). Changing litter size from 6 to 12 pigs resulted in 2,098, 432, 253, 227, 4.4, 178, and 20 g increases in the amounts of total mammary wet weight, dry weight, DFFT, protein, DNA, fat, and ash, respectively, on d 21 of lactation. Litter weight gain was 18.1 kg greater in sows with 12 pigs than in sows with 6 pigs. Sows with a larger litter size had a greater increase in total mass of mammary gland tissue and litter weight but had lower growth of individual nursed mammary glands and individual pigs than sows with the smaller litter size. The need for nutrients to support additional mammary gland and litter growth as litter size increases should be considered when estimating nutrient requirements for lactating sows. Sows need an additional .96 g lysine per day to account for mammary gland growth for each pig added to a litter.

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