This study examined the changes in age at first oestrus, the weaning-to-oestrus interval (WEI), and duration of oestrus (DE) in a Yorkshire sow population during two years of adaptation from a northern (55°48′N, 9°13′W) European region to a southern (44°03′N, 23°35′W) one. The adaptation process induced a grouping effect of gilts around the mean age of the onset of puberty. Autumn and spring were characterized by the most enhanced gilt grouping effect at 201 to 210 days of age. The same effect was found for oestrus duration, which declined from a 12- to 96-hour range in the first year to an 18- to 90-hour range in the second year. The mean age of first oestrus was 0.8 days significantly lower in the second year compared with the first; the maximal lowering (1.7 days) occurred in the winter season. The WEI decreased significantly from the first to the second year in all four seasons, by a mean annual value of 0.88 days (15.9%). DE increased by 6.5 hours (significantly for all seasons) from the first year to the next. DE showed an ascending evolution from winter to spring and descending from summer to autumn, during each monitored year. Adaptation influences the oestrus in sows. The age to puberty and WEI tended to decrease, while DE tended to increase, with a simultaneous decrease in the variability of these oestrus parameters.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher