Analogues of prostaglandin F2 alpha are widely used in the United Kingdom to induce parturition in sows. A disadvantage is that sows are induced to farrow in advance of expected delivery dates. An alternative might be to maintain gestation by the application of a progestogen. Farrowing might then be initiated on the withdrawal of the progestogen. The use of an orally active progestogen (allyl-trenbolone) in an attempt to control the time of parturition in sows is described. In experiment 1, 20 large white cross landrace sows were allocated at random to one of two treatments. Treated sows were fed 16 mg/day of allyl-trenbolone from day 111 of gestation to day 118 of gestation. The farrowing performance of these sows was compared with that of control sows which farrowed naturally. Treated sows farrowed significantly (P less than 0.01) later than the control sows (118.2 and 116.1 days respectively). For treated sows the interval from progestogen withdrawal to farrowing was 29.6 +/- 4.8 hours. The number of stillbirths for treated and control sows respectively was 2.1 and 0.4 per litter. Treatment had no effect either on the birth weight of piglets or on their weaning weight at six weeks old. There was a tendency for more treated sows to show subsequent reproductive malfunction. In a second experiment, under commercial conditions, 81 sows and 12 gilts were allocated to one of four treatments. Treatment A animals were untreated controls.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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