Post weaning anoestrus can represent a significant source of reproductive inefficiency in pig production. Although many factors such as breed, parity, season and nutrition are known to influence the interval between weaning and remating, the effect of the sow's social environment after weaning is largely unknown. For this experiment six groups of Large White/Landrace cross-bred sows weaned between August 1989 and March 1990 at a mean of 29 days after farrowing were used to investigate the effect of social environment on the onset of oestrus after weaning in the sow. Groups two, three or four sows were exposed in six replicates to the following four treatments: (1) 18 were isolated as controls, (2) 16 were housed next to an anoestrous ovariectomised sow and allowed 10 minutes physical contact with it daily, (3) 15 were housed next to an ovariectomised sow, induced into oestrus by the injection of 1 mg oestradiol benzoate, and allowed 10 minutes physical contact with it daily, and (4) 16 were housed next to a mature boar and allowed 10 minutes physical contact with it daily. Significantly more sows in treatments 3 and 4 showed oestrus within 10 days of weaning (P less than 0.05), and the onset of oestrus was more synchronised in the sows in treatment 3 than in any other treatment (P less than 0.001). The exposure of the weaned sows to an oestrous sow or a boar overcame the extension of the weaning to remating interval which occurred over the summer and in primiparous animals in other treatments.
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