Animal Science Department



Jens Walter

Date of this Version



Published in 2010 Nebraska Swine Report. Published by Extension Division, Agricultural Research Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resouces, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Copyright ©2010 Regents of the University of Nebraska.


Litter performance, progeny growth performance, and progeny health status may be affected by dam parity. The objective of the current experiment was to evaluate gastrointestinal microflora, as a measure of gut health, in progeny derived from first parity (P1) compared to fourth parity (P4) dams. Fecal samples were collected from the progeny (n = 6 pigs/litter) of P1 and P4 dams (n = 4 from each parity, P1 and P4) on days 1, 7, and 14 following parturition. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis was utilized to characterize gastrointestinal microbial populations and to calculate similarity and diversity indices. The similarity index represents the percentage of the microbial population that is similar within a group (P1 vs. P4). Diversity indices (Shannon’s and Simpson’s) represent the differences of the bacterial species within the microbial population. A greater Shannon’s index and reduced Simpson’s index are indicative of greater diversity among microbial populations. At all time points (days 1, 7 and 14), the fecal microbiota of progeny derived from P1 dams was more homogenous when compared to P4 progeny (P < 0.001). With respect to microbial diversity, P1 progeny tended (P = 0.07; Shannon’s) to have greater microbial diversity compared to P4 progeny on day 1, and on day 7, the reduction in microbial diversity in P1 progeny reached statistical signifi cance (Shannon’s: P < 0.05). There were no differences in microbial diversity among progeny derived from different dam parities (P1 v. P4) on day 14. These results suggest that microbial populations, and thus health status, may be affected by dam parity.