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Effects of Feeding Regime on Feeding Motivation, Behavior and Performance of Growing Pigs

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2012 IX International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES IX)  ILES12-0754.(doi:10.13031/2013.41646)
Authors:   Yun-long Kang, Xin-zhi Wang, Jun Bao
Keywords:   Meal Frequency, Motivation, Behavior, Performance, Growing Pig

The study aimed to investigate the effect of daily feeding frequency on feeding motivation, behavior and performance of growing pigs. Sixteen castrated growing pigs of Large White x Harbin White (local breed) were chosen from 16 litters balanced for birth dates (56.41.52) and body weight (20.77l.54kg), and they were evenly allocated into two groups (G1 and G2) with each consisting of 8 pigs. Two treatments (T1: four meals vs T 2: two meals a day) were applied to the two groups with a switch-back design. Each experimental period lasted for 20 days. General behaviors, mouth-related behaviors, motivation-related behaviors were observed and performance was measured. The results showed that growing pigs fed four meals a day showed low active behaviors (standing and walking), and higher lying and grooming activities after each meals although difference was not significant (p>0.05). Mouth-related behaviors (bar-manipulating, feeder-manipulating, and floor-rooting) in T1 were significantly less than T2 (p<0.05). The piglets fed four meals showed a significantly higher trough-visiting than two meals after morning and afternoon mealtime (p<0.05). However, four daily meals led to less feed intake per feeder-visit during feeding compared to two meals (p<0.05). Significant higher average daily intake and daily gain were found for the growing pigs in T1 than T2 (p<0.05). It can be concluded that the regime of four meals a day is better than two meals for the welfare state and performance of growing pigs.

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