Effects of cooling on the reproductive performance of gilts
The study examined the effect of cooling on the reproductive performance of gilts using 27 Large White Experimental Gilts on a Completely Randomized Design (CRD) with 3 systems of cooling, namely Wallow Cooling (WC), Sprinkler Cooling (SC) and Zero Cooling (ZC). Gilts were weighed at the commencement of the experiment and thereafter fed ad libitum from service to farrowing. Feed intake till farrow, feed cost, gilt weight at farrow, date of farrow, litter size and weight were recorded. The feed/piglet weight, feed intake/litter, feed cost/litter and birth weight/piglet were derived. The results showed that feed intake per litter and feed per piglet weight were highest for gilts placed on WC(P< 0.05), followed by SC and least for sow placed on ZC; gilt weight before farrow was highest for sow placed on SC (69.78±0.92), followed by ZC (69.33±0.94) and least for gilts placed on WC (67.33±0.87); litter sizes of gilts placed under the WC and SC systems were similar (5.6±0.41) while that under the ZC system was comparatively smaller (5.4±0.40);while the date of farrow was lowest in the ZC system (113.8±0.32) followed by SC (114.0±0.33) and highest under the WC (114.1±0.33). However, the feed intake per litter, feed per piglet weight, litter sizes of gilts, birth weight per piglet of gilts and the average date of farrow among gilts placed on WC, SC and ZC were not statistically different at 5% level of significance. Though, there is no significant difference in the performance among gilts placed on WC, SC and ZC, temperature regulation through provision of efficient cooling system in piggery would help to increase litter size, improve feed intake per litter and reduce the average cost of feeding gilt per day in maximizing reproductive performances in pigs.
Keywords: Cooling, gilts, service, farrow, piggery, litter size, piglet and birth weight