The effect of non genetic factors on litter weight at birth and weaning in Dalland pig breed of Zimbabwe


  • Never Assan Zimbabwe Open University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Agriculture Management, Bulawayo region, Box 3550, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
  • Tariro Patience Chibvongodze Lupane State University, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal science and Rangeland Management, 10th Floor, Pioneer House, Corner Fife Street/8th Avenue, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
  • T Moyo Lupane State University, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal science and Rangeland Management, 10th Floor, Pioneer House, Corner Fife Street/8th Avenue, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe


Non-genetic factors, Birth, Weaning, Dalland , Zimbabwe


Non-genetic factors influencing litter weight at birth and weaning  were evaluated using the Dalland pig breed of Zimbabwe. The objective of the present study was to establish the non genetic factors which affect average litter weight at birth (ALBWT) and weaning  (ALWWT) in Dalland pig breed of Zimbabwe. Mixed classification models containing effects of sire, ages at first service, gestation length, teat number, litter size at birth, litter size at weaning and year of birth and weaning were used  for identification of non genetic factors. The  ALBWT and ALWWT data were analyzed using the General Linear Models (GLM) procedure of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS), 1996 to establish the significance of the non genetic factors.  The mean litter weight  at birth and  weaning  were 12.53±0.13 and 24.22±0.07, respectively. Sire line and age at first service  had  significant effects (p<0.05) on both ALBWT and ALWWT. Litter size at  birth and year of birth had significant effects (p<0.05) on average litter weight at birth, while  teat number  influenced average litter weight at weaning. Two way factor interactions for age at first service *teat number and    age at first service* sire line had a significant effect (p<0.05) on average litter weight at weaning. The lowest average litter weight  both at birth and weaning were observed when the litter size was largest, 15.63±0.17 and 24.64±0.25, respectively. The inconsistency of literature results on the influence of non genetic factors on average litter weight at birth  and weaning in pig production within specific  sow units and environment indicates the importance of estimation of environmental factors for different pig production entities is necessary. The  study  alludes to the complexity of the non genetic factors  influencing the  average litter at birth and weaning in pig production, hence the need to correct for such non genetic factors for accurate estimation of genetic parameters.


Abdel-Azeem, A.S., 2007. A study of physiological and performance aspects in four pure breeds of rabbits and their

crosses. MSc thesis. Facul. agr., Fayoum Univ., Egypt.

Alexande, G., 1964. Studies on the placenta of sheep (Ovis aries L.). Placental size. J. Reprod. Fert., 7, 289-305.

Alkass, J.E., Al-Azzawi, W.A.R., Asofi, M.K., Elia, J.V., 1999. Number and weight of cotyledons and there relevance

to variation in birth weight of kids. Iraqi j. Agr. Sci., 30(2), 641-646.

Ashworth, C.J., 2013. Late pregnancy: The effects of intra-uterine life on production traits in offspring. The Roslin

Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Midlothian, UK,

EH25 9RG.

Assan, N., 2013. Various factors influencing birth weight in animal production. A Rev. Sci. J. Rev., Volume 2, Issue

, pages 156-175.

Bellis, D.B., 1982. Practical Pig Production Technical Hand Book 1. Zimbabwe Agr. J., Vol 2 page 72.

Bennett, G.L, Leymaster, K.A., 1989. Integration of ovulation rate, potential embryonic viability and uterine

capacity into a model of litter size in swine. J. Anim. Sci., 67, 1230-1241.

Campbell, R.G., Dunkin, A.C. 1982. Amm. Prod., 35, 193-197.

Chimonyo, M., Dzama, K., Bhebhe, E., 2008. Genetic determination of mothering ability and piglet growth in

indigenous Mukota sows of Zimbabwe. Liv. Sci., 113,74-80.

Damgaard, L.H., Rydhmer, L., Lovendahl, P., Grandinson, K., 2003. Genetic parameters for within litter variation in

piglet birth weight and change in within litter variation during suckling. J. Anim. Sci., 81, 604-610.

Dufour, J.J., Fammy, M.H., 1975. Canadian J. Anim. Sci., 55, 9-16.

Eltawil, L.E., Hazel, L.N., Sidwell, G.M., Terrill, C.E., 1970. Evaluation of environmental factors affecting birth,

weaning and yearling traits in Navajo sheep. J. Anim. Sci., 31(5), 823-827.

Gondret, F., Lefaucheur, L., Juin, H., Louveau, I., Lebret, B., 2006. Low birth weight is associated with enlarged

muscle fiber area and impaired meat tenderness of the longissimus muscle in pigs. J. Anim. Sci., 84, 93-103.

Hermesch, S., Luxford, B.G., Graser, H.U., 2001. Genetic parameters for piglet mortality, within litter variation of

birth weight, litter size and litter birth weight. Proc. Assoc. Advmt. Anim. Breed. Genet., 14,211- 214.

Knol, E.F., Ducro, B.J., van Arendonk, J.A.M., van der Lende, T., 2002. Direct, maternal and nurse sow genetic

effects on farrowing, pre-weaning and total piglet survival. Liv. Prod. Sci., 73,153-164.

Lawrence, T.L, Flower, V.R, 2002. Growth of Farm Animals, CABI Publishing. CAB International, Wallingford, Oxon,

Madibela, O.R., 2004. Placental mass of grazing Tswana goats kidding at two different periods during the dry

season. J. Biol. Sci., 4, 740–743.

Mellor, D.J., Stafford, K.J., 2004. Animal welfare implications of neonatal mortality and morbidity in farm animals.

Vet. J., 168, 118–133.

Mersmann, H.J., 1974. Metabolic patterns in the neonatal swine. J. Anim. Sci., 38, 1022-1030. Milligan, BN, Dewey,

CE, De Grau, AF. 2002. Neonatal-piglet weight variation and its relation to pre-weaning mortality and weight

gain on commercial farms. Prev. Veter. Med., 56, 119-127.

Mpofu, I., Makuza, S., 2003. Pig Production Science and Technology in Zimbabwe, Harare. University of Zimbabwe.

Mungate, F., Dzama, K., Shoniwa, A., Mandisodza, K. 1999. Some non genetic factors affecting pig product.

Zimbabwe. South African J. Anim.Sci., 29 (3) 64–173.

Omtvedt, I.T., Whatley (Jr.), J.A., Willham, R.L., 1966. J. Anim. Sci., 25, 372-376.

Oramari, R.A.S., Alkass, J.E., Hermiz, H.N., Hussein, Y.Y., 2011. Some placental factors and their relevance to

varaiation in birth weight of Karadi lambs. Roavs., 1(3), 165-168.

Osgerby, J.C., Gadd, T.S., Wathes, D.C., 2003. The effects of maternal nutrition and body condition on placental and

foetal growth in the ewe. Placenta., 24(2-3), 236-47.

Quiniou, N., Dagorn, J., Gaudre, D., 2002. Variation of piglets birth weight and consequences on subsequent

performance. Li. Prod. Sci., 78, 63-70.

Robinson, J.J., McDonald, I., Fraser, C., Crafts, R.M.J., 1977. Studies on reproduction in prolific ewes. 1. Growth of

the products of conception. J. Agr. Sci., (Cambridge) 88,539-552.

Ruttle, J.L., 1967. Influence of sex and type of birth on performance of early weaned lambs. J. Anim. Sci., 32(5),974-

SAS., 1996. Statistical Analysis Systems. Procedures Guide for Personal Computers. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North

Carolina, USA.

Schinkel, A.P., 1999. Describing the pig, in: I. Kyriazakis (Ed.), A Quantitative Biology of the Pig, CABI Publishing.

CAB Int., Wallingford, Oxon, pp. 9–38.

Seleem, T.S.T., 2005. Some reproductive, productive and physiological aspect of purebred and crossbred Flander

and New Zealand white rabbits under Egyptian environmental conditions. In: Proc. 14th Intern. Conf. Rabbit

Prod. Hot Clim., 24- 27. Feb. Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 161- 168.

Shoniwa, A., Dzama, K., 1995. Future prospects of pig production in Zimbabwe. In. Proceed. Int. Sympos. Livest.

Improv. through Anim. Breed. Genet. held at Harare, Zimbabwe, 10–11 May 1995. pp 74–76.

Stone, R.T., Campion, D.R., Klindt, J., Martin, R.J., 1985. Blood parameters and body composition in fetuses from

reciprocal crosses of genetically lean and obese swine. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med., 180, 191-195.

Suarez, M., Hermsch, S., Braun, J.A., Ulrich-Graser, H., 2004. Estimates of genetic parameters . reproductive traits

at different parities in Australian hyperprolific large white sow. Proc. Assoc. Advmt. Anim. Breed. Genet.,

,145- 148.

Thiruvenkadan, A.K., Karunanithi, K., Muralidharan, J., Babu, R.N., 2011. Genetic analysis of preweaning and

postweaning growth traits of Mecheri sheep under dry land farming conditions. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci.,

(8), 1041-1047.

Tuchscherer, M., Puppe, B., Thchscherer, A., Tiemann, U., 2000. Early identification of neonates at risk:traits of

newborn piglets with respect to survival. Theriogenol., 54, 371-388.

Vaclavkova, E., Danek, P., Rozkof, M. 2012. The influence of piglet birth weight on growth performance. Res. Pig

Breed., 6(1).

Wolf, J., Zakova, E., Groeneveld, E., 2008. Within-litter variation of birth weight in hyperprolific Czech Large White

sows and its relation to litter size traits, stillborn piglets and losses until weaning. Liv. Sci., 115,195- 205.

Yen, H.F., Islen, G.A., Harvey, W.R., Irvin, N.K.M., 1987. J. Anim. Sci., 64, 1134- 1348.



How to Cite

Assan, N. ., Patience Chibvongodze, T. ., & Moyo, T. . (2014). The effect of non genetic factors on litter weight at birth and weaning in Dalland pig breed of Zimbabwe. Scientific Journal of Animal Science, 3(6), 167-175. Retrieved from



Original Article