Research from Southern Illinois University shows that gilts from male-dominated litters frequently fail to conceive, and when they do reproduce their daughters tend to have fewer teats.

“The bottom line here is that we have come up with one more management tool that a pork producer can use in selecting females for the breeding herd, and it’s easy to do,” says Robert Arthur, swine specialist and Southern Illinois’ dean of the agriculture college.

The number of teats on a sow of course is important because of continuously increasing litter sizes. Naturally, anytime a female fails to farrow a litter it is cause for concern.

This study found that if a female failed to conceive once, there was greater than a 50 percent chance it came from a male-biased litter. If the animal failed to conceive multiple times, the probability that it came from a male-biased litter increased to 70 percent.

Arthur recommends that you do not select breeding herd replacement females from a litter containing 60 percent males.

The researchers are now studying the offspring of sows from predominately male litters and offspring of those with mostly female litters. They will compare litter size, birth weights and the piglets’ ability to gain weight.