As is well known, the gilts have a very important role within the farm since they represent the future of the farm, in addition, if we divide the farm into subpopulations by age, we will realize that they usually represent the largest group (20-24% of the total).

Therefore, their reproductive results will have a great impact on the productive yield of the farm. To achieve the maximum performance of the gilts we must know what is the optimal time to carry out their first covering and therefore start their productive life, for this certain actions must be carried out that allow us to optimize their coming into heat.

We can divide these performances into two groups:

  • Entry requirements of gilts into production.
  • Handling practices carried out until insemination.

Both groups of actions will help us to maximize the reproductive performance of the breed in its first birth, which will mark the yield and the productive half-life of future breeders.

The age at which gilts reach puberty is between 200 and 215 days and will be influenced by various factors, such as genetics or the effect of the environment, and many others that depend on the management we carry out as exposure to the boar, number of previous heats and the weight reached before the first insemination, among others.

We have to keep in mind, that each provider of genetics has some recommendations, regarding age, nutrition, weight …, which will allow them to develop their full genetic potential. The points discussed below are therefore general ideas or concepts.