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The effect of pellet diameter on the performance of young pigs

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Helen Edge, Dr Peter Rowlinson


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The effect of pellet diameter on the liveweight gain, feed intake and feeding behaviour of young pigs was examined. Two hundred and thirty four pigs were placed on trial at 10 days of age, whilst still suckling their dam. Pigs were weaned at approximately 28 days of age into fully slatted flatdeck accommodation and remained on trial until approximately 56 days of age. Pigs were assigned to one of six dietary treatments in a 2 × 3 factorial design. Whilst suckling their dam, piglets were offered either a 1.8 mm diameter or a 5.0 mm diameter pellet followed by a 1.8, 2.4 or 5.0 mm pellet in the weaner building. All combinations of dietary treatment were accounted for. The aim of the trial was to ascertain how pellet diameter affects feed intake and liveweight gain in the young pig and how changes in diet presentation between the pre- and postweaning phases may affect postweaning feed intake. Dietary treatment had no significant effect on liveweight gain during the preweaning period or on liveweight gain, feed intake or feed conversion ratio during the postweaning period. During the preweaning stage, however, those piglets that received the larger pellet size spent significantly longer periods of time (P < 0.05) engaged in trough directed behaviour than their counterparts receiving the 1.8 mm pellet. This effect was temporary in nature and was not carried through to the weaning phase. It appears therefore from the results of this trial that pellet size does not affect piglet performance but in some cases can increase trough directed behaviour. Furthermore, young pigs appear to be very adaptable with respect to this form of diet presentation and to changes in presentation occurring between the pre- and postweaning phases. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Edge HL, Dalby JA, Rowlinson P, Varley MA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Livestock Production Science

Year: 2005

Volume: 97

Issue: 2-3

Pages: 203-209

Print publication date: 01/11/2005

ISSN (print): 0301-6226

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.livprodsci.2005.04.009


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