In order to efficiently have a consistent supply of service-ready gilts available to incorporate into each batch of breeding sows, it is necessary to manipulate the timing of estrus and possibly the timing of ovulation of gilts. Estrus can be synchronized by the withdrawal of altrenogest after at least 14 days of treatment. It is possible that protocols developed to induce ovulation, and therefore allow fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI), can improve the predictability of gilt breeding. This study investigated the effect of two FTAI protocols in gilts on reproductive performance and timing of farrowing and piglet weaning weight compared to gilts bred based on signs of estrus after cessation of altrenogest. Puberty was induced in gilts, followed by treatment with altrenogest. Following altrenogest withdrawal, 180 gilts were assigned to one of three treatment groups. Group 1 gilts (LUT, n = 62) were treated with 600 IU equine chorionic gonadotropin 24 h after altrenogest withdrawal and 5 mg porcine luteinizing hormone (pLH) 80 h later, followed by a single FTAI 36 h after pLH. Group 2 gilts (TRI, n= 61) received 2 mL of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist, triptorelin acetate, intravaginally 6 d after altrenogest withdrawal and were bred by a single FTAI 24 h later. Group 3 gilts (CON, n = 57) were observed for estrus and bred twice by AI, 24 h apart. LUT and TRI gilts farrowed closer together (2.4 ± 1.6 and 2.9 ± 1.2 d(days), respectively) compared to CON gilts (4.5 ± 3.3 d). Piglets in LUT were 80 g (p < 0.001) heavier and piglets in TRI were 64 g (p < 0.05) heavier at weaning than CON piglets, when controlling for birth weight. Results indicate that FTAI might be useful as a means of minimizing the time from the first to the last gilt farrowing in a breeding batch of gilts. However, modifications of the protocols may be required to ensure optimum farrowing rates and litter size.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited