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Exploratory behaviour and performance of piglets fed novel flavoured creep in two housing systems

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jonathan Guy, Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards

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Abstract

Creep feeding can improve growth and performance of piglets before and after weaning, especially if sow milk supply is reduced for any reason, but intake by suckling piglets is often low. It was hypothesised that the sequential presentation of different flavoured creeps each day would stimulate exploratory behaviour and improves feed intake and weight gain during lactation, with subsequent post-weaning benefits. This study aimed at investigating the effect of increasing creep flavour diversity in two lactation housing systems. Thirty-six sows (Large White x Landrace) were used in a 2 x 2 factorial design; sows were randomly allocated to either a farrowing crate or a loose farrowing PigSAFE pen at five days before farrowing, while the litters were further allocated to either a standard or diverse flavour creep feeding regime on day 10 of lactation. Housing system had no main or interactive effect on the feed intake and weight gain of piglets in the lactation and post-weaning periods. Feeding 5 different flavoured creeps (Toffee, Apricot, Butterscotch, Apple and Red fruit) in a daily sequential order increased the hourly frequency of visits to the creep feeder on day 18 of life (P = 0.004), and increased the piglets' feed intake over days 15-22 of lactation (P = 0.01), and day 22 to weaning at 28d (P = 0.03). When controlling for day of presentation, butterscotch flavoured creep promoted a higher intake than red fruit creep (P = 0.004), with other flavours intermediate. The prior experience of flavour diversity significantly increased weight gain in the first 2 weeks after weaning on a standardised feeding regime for both treatments (P = 0.03). Results suggest that dietary novelty may be a method to stimulate early exploratory behaviour, feed intake and performance. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Adeeye OO, Guy JH, Edwards SA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Animal Feed Science and Technology

Year: 2014

Volume: 191

Pages: 91-97

Print publication date: 01/05/2014

Online publication date: 10/02/2014

Acceptance date: 03/02/2014

ISSN (print): 0377-8401

ISSN (electronic): 1873-2216

Publisher: Elsevier BV

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2014.02.001

DOI: 10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2014.02.001


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