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The effects on performance and behaviour of number of growing pigs per mono place feeder

, : The effects on performance and behaviour of number of growing pigs per mono place feeder. Animal Feed Science & Technology 35(1-2): 3-14

Three hundred and sixty pigs were penned in groups of 10, 20 or 30 with one mono-plce feeder per pen which was the only source of both food and water. Pigs were offered a non-pelleted cereal and soya-bean meal diet ad libitum from 37 to 90 kg liveweight. There were no differences in mean overall growth rates or in the variation within pens. Feed conversion was better (P < 0.05) for the ten pig treatment than for the other two treatments. Apparent feed intake was lower (P < 0.05) and growth rate tended to be reduced inthe first 2 weeks of the experiment with 30 pigs per feeder, while the effect of treatments on feed conversion was greatest (P < 0.01) in the mid-growth period. Video recordings during Weeks 2, 5, and 8 of the experimental periods showed that feeders were used almost continuously throughout the day and night only for the 30 pig group in Week 2. With reducing group size, feeder occuption declined (P < 0.001), but the time spent per visit increased (P < 0.05). Feeder occupation also declined with time (P < 0.001) owing to a reduction in the number of visits per pig (P < 0.001), which was partially offset by increased time per visit (P < 0.01). The number of pigs queuing to use the feeder increased with group size (P < 0.001) but decreased with time (P < 0.01), except in the smallest group, giving a significant interaction. For individual pigs, time spent at the feeder and the number of visits ranged from 5 min to 140 min and from 5 per 24 h to 65 per 24 h, respectively.

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