Impact of birth weight and daily weight gain during suckling on the weight gain of weaning piglets

ABSTRACT This study evaluated the effect of birth weight and weight gain during the suckling phase on the piglet daily weight gain during the nursery phase (21-61 days of age). Piglets (n= 534) derived from 55 first-parity sows were weighed at birth, weaning, and end of the nursery phase. The data were analyzed according to a completely randomized experimental design, with three classes of birth weight (BW) and two classes of weight gain during the suckling phase (SDWG). High BW and low SDWG piglets were 0.2kg lighter at weaning than low BW and high SDWG animals (P< 0.05). However, at the end of the nursery phase, this situation was inverted, with high BW and low SDWG piglets 2.20kg heavier (P< 0.05). Low BW and high SDWG piglets were heavier at weaning and at the end of the nursery phase than low BW and low SDWG piglets (P< 0.05). At the same time, intermediate and high BW and low and high SDWG piglets presented body weight differences at weaning (P< 0.05), but not at the end of the nursery phase (P< 0.05). Piglets with 1.25 to 2.30kg BW and low weight gain during suckling presented a partial compensatory growth during the nursery phase.