Effect of nutrient intake on mammary gland growth in lactating sows

S. W. Kim, W. L. Hurley, I. K. Han, H. H. Stein, R. A. Easter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sixty-one primiparous sows were used to determine the response of mammary gland growth to different energy and protein intakes during lactation. After birth, litter size was set to 9 or 10 pigs. Sows were slaughtered at selected times up to 30 d of lactation. Individual sows were fed one of four diets that were combinations of different amounts of energy and protein (3.0 Meal ME and 8.0 g lysine/kg diet; 3.0 Mcal ME and 16.2 g lysine/kg diet; 3.5 Meal ME and 6.4 g lysine/kg diet; or 3.5 Meal ME and 13.0 g lysine/kg diet). Mammary glands were collected at slaughter and trimmed of skin and the extraneous fat pad. Each gland was weighed, cut in half to measure cross-sectional area, ground, and stored at -20°C for chemical analysis. Frozen, ground tissue was used to determine dry matter, dry fat-free tissue (DFFT), total tissue protein, ash, and DNA content. Only glands known to have been suckled were included in this data set. Response surface regression was used for statistical analysis. The percentage of protein, fat, ash, and DNA in each suckled mammary gland was affected only by total energy intake (P < .05). The percentage of dry tissue and fat decreased as the total energy consumed during lactation increased, whereas the percentage of protein and DFFT increased as total energy intake increased. There were quadratic effects (P < .05) of both total energy and protein intake on wet weight, dry weight, protein amount, DFFT amount, and DNA amount of each suckled mammary gland during lactation. This study shows that mammary gland growth is affected by nutrient intake during lactation. The weight of suckled mammary glands and the amount of mammary tissue protein, DFFT, and total DNA were maximal on d 27.5 of lactation when sows had consumed an average of 16.9 Meal of ME and 55 g of lysine per day during lactation. Provision of adequate amounts of nutrients to sows during lactation is important for achieving maximal growth of mammary glands and maximal milk production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3304-3315
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Energy Intake
  • Lactation
  • Mammary Glands
  • Protein Intake
  • Sows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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