Age at puberty, ovulation rate, uterine length, prenatal survival and litter size in Chinese Meishan and Yorkshire females

B. R. White, D. G. McLaren, P. J. Dziuk, M. B. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies on the ovulation rate, prenatal survival and litter size of Chinese Meishan pigs have given widely divergent results depending on the extent of inbreeding of the animals, their original genetic diversity, the age and parity, and the conditions of management. To obtain meaningful results, it is necessary to characterize the population under study. The following report characterizes populations of Meishan and Yorkshire of a widely diverse background. First farrowing data were collected on 21 Meishan and 20 Yorkshire gilts. Meishan gilts had 12.4 fully formed piglets and Yorkshire gilts had 7.4 fully formed piglets (P < 0.01). Meishan gilts averaged 1.86 mummified fetuses per litter vs 0.05 per Yorkshire litter (P < 0.01). Yorkshire piglets averaged 1.3 kg body weight at birth vs 0.9 kg for Meishan piglets (P < 0.01). At 47 days of second gestation, 19 Meishan and 12 Yorkshire sows averaged 22.7 and 16.3 corpora lutea (CL), respectively (P < 0.01). Uterine length and number of fetuses were not different (P > 0.40) in the two breeds. Daily estrous detection of 50 Meishan and 34 Yorkshire gilts began at 60 and 120 days of age, respectively. Meishan gilts reached sexual maturity at 95 days of age, which was 105 days earlier than Yorkshire gilts (P < 0.01). Meishan gilts were in estrus nearly 1 day longer than Yorkshire gilts at first, second and third estrus (P < 0.05). No differences in cycle length between breeds were detected for the first or second estrous cycle (P > 0.60). Nineteen Meishan gilts were slaughtered at 51 days of gestation and their reproductive tracts were recovered. The mean number of dissected CL (17.0), number of fetuses (13.1), total uterine length (396 cm), spacing per fetus (29.9 cm), allantoic (124.9 ml) and amniotic (32.2 ml) volumes, crown-rump length (82.8 mm), weight (35.4 g), sex, and direction of each fetus were determined. Chinese Meishan gilts reached puberty much earlier and were in estrus longer than Yorkshire gilts and Meishan sows had more CL than Yorkshire sows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-97
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1993


  • Chinese pigs
  • litter size
  • ovulation rate
  • prenatal survival
  • puberty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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