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Increasing Daily Feeding Occasions in Restricted Feeding Strategies Does Not Improve Performance or Well Being of Fattening Pigs

by 5m Editor
24 June 2008, at 12:00am

By Eva Persson, Margret Wülbers-Mindermann, Charlotte Berg and Bo Algers. Published by BioMed Central in the Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2008, 50:24 Journal.

Abstract

Background

The natural feeding behaviour of the pig is searching for feed by rooting activities throughout the day; self-feeding pigs randomly space their eating and drinking periods throughout the day consuming ten to twelve meals per day. Pigs in conventional fattening pig production are normally fed 2-3 times daily with the feed consumed within 15 minutes. The aim of this study was to determine if more frequent feedings could improve the performance of conventionally kept fattening pigs.

Methods

The experiment was carried out on 360 fattening pigs (27-112 kg live weight), weighed and assigned to pens stratified by weight and sex. Each treatment group consisted of 180 pigs, allocated to 20 pens with nine pigs in each pen. To evaluate how more feeding occasions affects performance and well-being the pigs were divided into two groups and fed three (control group) or nine (treatment group) times daily. The same total amount of liquid feed was fed to each group and the feed ration was correlated to the live weight of the pigs. All weight and slaughter recordings were made individually and recordings of feed consumption were made pen-wise. At slaughter the stomach of each pig was examined for lesions in the pars oesophagea and scored on a scale from 1-6.

Results

Frequent feeding occasions influenced both performance and status of gastric lesions of the pigs adversely. Pigs in the treatment group grew slower compared to pigs in the control group; 697 g/day (± 6.76) versus 804 g/day (± 6.78) (P<0.001) with no difference in withinpen variation. There was also a lower prevalence of gastric lesions within pigs in the control group (2.4 (± 0.12) compared to 3.0 (± 0.12) (P<0.01)). There was a positive correlation between gastric lesions in the treatment group and daily weight gain (r=0.19; P<0.01).

Conclusion

Increased daily feeding occasions among group housed pigs resulted in a poorer daily weight gain and increased mean gastric lesion score as compared with pigs fed three times daily. This may be a consequence of more frequently occurring competition for feed in the treatment group. The present study does not support increased daily feeding occasions in fattening pigs.

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Further Reading

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June 2008