The impact of feeder adjustment and group size-floor space allowance on the performance of nursery pigs
Laura F. Smith, BSA; A. Denise Beaulieu, PhD; John F. Patience, PhD; Harold W. Gonyou, PhD; R. Dean Boyd, PhD
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Objectives: To determine the effects of group size and feeder trough opening on weanling pig performance, and to develop feeder adjustment recommendations for the pork industry.
Materials and methods: Weanling piglets were randomly assigned to three group sizes (16, 20, and 24 pigs), with corresponding floor space allowances of 0.35 m2, 0.28 m2, and 0.23 m2 per pig. Crumbled feed was provided in trough-type dry feeders using five different feeder gap openings (range 9.2 - 31.5 mm) for 42 days, beginning 8 days postweaning. Three replicates were performed (N = 716).
Results: During Days 21 to 42, body weight, ADG, and average daily feed intake increased with feeder gap size and floor space allowance (P < .05). By day 42, pigs in pens with the widest feeder gap weighed 10% more than pigs in pens with the smallest gap (P < .001). Pigs with the greatest space allowance (0.35 m2) were 5.6% heavier than pigs with the least amount of space (0.23 m2; P < .05).
Implications: Under the conditions of this study, increasing space allowance from 0.23 m2 per pig to 0.35 m2 per pig was associated with increased body weight at approximately 10 weeks of age. Optimal growth and feed efficiency were observed when the feeder gap opening allowed 25 to 60% of the feeder trough to be consistently clear of feed. The capacity of a nursery feeder space is 11 pigs when the feeder gap opening allows 25 to 60% of the feeder trough to be clear of feed.
Keywords: feeder, space, nursery, performance
Cite as: LF, Beaulieu AD, Patience JF, et al. The impact of feeder adjustment and group size-floor space allowance on the performance of nursery pigs. J Swine Health Prod 2004;12(3):111-118.
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