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Effect of feeding environment on performance, injuries, plasma cortisol and behaviour in growing-finishing pigs: Studies on individual pigs housed in groups


Effect of feeding environment on performance, injuries, plasma cortisol and behaviour in growing-finishing pigs: Studies on individual pigs housed in groups



Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica Section A Animal Science 50(4): 250-262



ISSN/ISBN: 0906-4702

DOI: 10.1080/090647000750069449

The effect of feeding environment on individual pigs (small, medium and large barrows) housed in groups of 16 pigs was studied. The experiment comprised the following four treatments: trough feeding, four dry feeders, one dry feeder and one wet/dry feeder per 16 pigs, respectively. Performance, skin injuries, plasma cortisol, agonistic behaviour, ingestive behaviour and activity were studied. The effect of competition for feed was most clearly evident for the small pigs. The small animals in the one dry feeder treatment were forced to eat more during the night, had more forced withdrawals from the feeder, and tended to have more scratches and skin injuries than did the small animals in the four dry feeder treatment. It was concluded that this competition led to impaired well-being in the smallest pigs. No significant differences were detected in plasma cortisol levels, when comparing the different feeding systems within each pig size category. Trough feeding greatly affected pig feed intake pattern: during the growing period when pigs had ad libitum access to feed, the pigs fed in a trough ate mostly at feeding times, while the pigs in the four dry feeder treatment ate at times spread out over the entire 24 h period. It was concluded that there was a confounding effect between pig size category (small or large) and feeding system with regard to ingestive behaviour and aggressive interactions at feeding.

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Accession: 010523416

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