Antibiotics are not as commonly used in diets for breeding animals as for growing pigs, but they have been shown to be quite effective when fed during certain stages of the reproductive cycle, such as at the time of breeding. Based on a summary of nine studies involving 1931 sows, feeding a high level of an absorbable antibiotic before and after breeding improved conception rate by 7% and improved litter size by one-half pig at the subsequent farrowing. A summary of 13 studies (2338 litters) showed a slight improvement in survival and weaning weights of nursing pigs when antibiotics were included in the prefarrowing and lactation diet. Long-term withdrawal of antibiotics from a swine herd was found to be associated with a marked reduction in reproductive performance.
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