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The effect of creep feed presentation method on feeding behaviour, intake and performance of suckling piglets

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Watcharapong Wattanakul, Christopher Bulman, Dr Helen Edge, Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards


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To stimulate early feeding behaviour and improve creep feed consumption in suckling piglets, creep feeder design and the possibility of sow facilitated feeding by piglets were studied. Twenty-four sows and their litters were used in 2 × 2 factorial experiment. Sow facilitated feeding was studied by providing a portion of the sow's daily ration on the floor, where piglets could access it (F), while the control sows were fed in a raised trough (T). Two different creep feeder designs were compared: a conventional commercial creep hopper (A) and a high accessibility shallow tray (B). Commercial creep feed (2 mm pellet) was provided daily from 14 days of age until 28 days of age. Piglets' activity towards the feeders was recorded by both direct observation and by 24 h time-lapse video recording on days 14, 21 and 25. Piglet approaches to the feeder on day 14 were significantly more numerous for the tray feeder (P < 0.01) and when the sow was fed on the floor (P < 0.05). Approaches to the tray feeder involving eating were also significantly higher (P < 0.05) on days 21 and 25 than for the hopper group. Piglets ate significantly (P < 0.01) more creep feed from the tray feeder than the hopper feeder. However, individual piglet growth on this treatment was not significantly increased, despite a 10% increase in litter weight gain (P = 0.09). No significant effect of sow feeding method on piglet creep feed intake or growth could be demonstrated. The difference in creep intake between the tray and hopper suggests that method of presentation is very important in the initiation of feeding behaviour. It is concluded that improving the scope for social facilitation of feeding behaviour between piglets gave better results than improving possibilities for imitation of the dam during feeding. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wattanakul W, Bulman CA, Edge HL, Edwards SA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Animal Behaviour Science

Year: 2005

Volume: 92

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 27-36

Print publication date: 01/07/2005

ISSN (print): 0168-1591

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9045

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2004.10.019


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