Impact of piglet birthweight and sow parity on mortality rates, growth performance, and carcass traits in pigs

<div><p>ABSTRACT A total of 5502 piglets from 435 sows were selected for evaluation of the effect of piglet birthweight and sow parity on mortality rate (MR), growth performance, and carcass traits in pigs. Piglets were distributed into one of eight categories according to their weight (<600, 601-800, 801-1000, 1001-1200, 1201-1400, 1401-1600, 1601-1800, and >1801 g) and sows were classified according to parity (1-5). The maximum MR during lactation (day 0 to day 21) was found in category <600 g, whereas the lowest was observed in categories ≥1401 g. Pigs with greater body weight (BW) at birth were equivalently greater until 59 days of age. Average daily weight gain (ADG) was improved by increasing piglet birthweight between 0 and 21 days as indicated by a linear regression effect. After weaning, this effect was reduced up to 168 days, indicated by a quadratic, as opposed to linear, regression effect. The increase in growth rates corresponded to improved lean meat content and hot carcass weight. Increasing sow parity corresponded to a quadratic improvement of BW and ADG during lactation, but not after weaning. However, the improved pre-weaning performance was concomitant with a linear increase of within-litter BW and ADG variation. No effect of parity was observed on carcass traits. Piglet birthweight and sow parity influence litter postnatal development, mainly during early life. After weaning, these effects are less evident with a minor impact on carcass traits.</p></div>