Determining feeder space allowance across feed forms and water availability in the feeder for growing-finishing pigs
Yuzhi Z. Li, BSc, MSc, PhD; Kimberly A. McDonald, BSc; Harold W. Gonyou, BSc, MSc, PhD
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Objectives: To evaluate a method of determining the optimal feeder space allowance for pigs.
Materials and methods: Trial 1 used eight pens of 12 pigs to determine total eating time in pigs to estimate occupancy rates of a single-space feeder. Feed was provided in four combinations of feed form (mash versus pelleted) and water availability in the feeder (dry versus wet-dry). Eating behavior of pigs was video-recorded during both growing and finishing phases. Trial 2 used 560 pigs for the growing phase and 454 pigs for the finishing phase. Effects of feeder occupancy rate (< 80%, 95%, 110%, and 125% for the growing phase; 80%, 103%, and 125% for the finishing phase) on total eating time and growth performance were determined.
Results: Both feed form (P < .01) and water availability in the feeder (P < .001) affected total eating time and, consequently, feeder occupancy rate. Pigs spent more time eating a dry mash diet than any other diet by water combination during both growing (P < .001) and finishing (P < .01) phases. As feeder occupancy rate increased to above 80%, either eating time (P < .05) or growth performance (P < .05) decreased.Implications: When testing levels of feeder space allowance and identifying the optimum, the designated number of pigs per feeder space should be determined according to feeder occupancy rates under different production settings. Optimal feeder space allowance should maintain both productivity and eating time of pigs.
Keywords: eating behavior, feed form, feeder space
Cite as: Li YZ, McDonald KA, Gonyou HW. Determining feeder space allowance across feed forms and water availability in the feeder for growing-finishing pigs. J Swine Health Prod 2017;25(4):174-182.
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