Does feeding frequency during lactation affect sows body condition, reproduction and production performance?
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The present study investigated whether a three‐times compared to two‐times feeding frequency during lactation affects sows' body condition, reproductive performance as well as growth performance of the piglets . In a commercial farm, eight groups (8–10 animals) with a total number of 68 sows were included in the study. During lactation, four groups received feed two times (treatment 2DF) and four groups three times daily (treatment 3DF). Within treatments, sows were classified into young (<2 parities) and old (≥3 parities). Body condition score (BCS), shoulder lesions, return to estrus rate and piglet's growth performance were recorded. The 3DF sows had a higher (p < 0.05) feed intake and less shoulder lesions (p < 0.05) than 2DF animals. Return to estrus rate in the 3DF treatment was 0% for young and 29% for old sows. In the 2DF treatment return to estrus rate was 20% for young and 5% for old sows. In conclusion, three‐times versus two‐times daily feeding frequency during lactation increased feed intake and had a positive effect on sows’ BCS and the frequency of shoulder lesions, while it also reduced incidents of return to estrus rate in young sows.