In a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement, 16 groups of 12 pigs (approximately 25 kg) were assigned to either barren or straw housing and to native or pregelatinized potato starch included in the diet (35%) to investigate effects on intestinal weight and gastric lesions. Pigs were fed restrictedly (2.5 × MEm) for 5 weeks. At slaughter, weights of empty small intestine and stomach were determined. Stomachs were inspected for incidence of lesions in the pars oesophagea. No starch type × housing interactions were found. In pigs fed pregelatinized starch, weight of the small intestine (26.8 ± 0.4 g/kg BW) and stomach (7.6 ± 0.1 g/kg BW) were higher than in pigs fed native starch (24.9 ± 0.4; 7.1 ± 0.1 g/kg BW, respectively; P <0.01). Straw bedding increased empty stomach weight (7.9 ± 0.1 vs. 6.8 ± 0.1 g/kg BW; P <0.001), but not small intestine weight. Starch type did not affect stomach scores, but straw bedding reduced the incidence of gastric lesions to a very low level (scores 0.5 and 3.0 for straw and barren housing, P <0.001). In conclusion, straw bedding reduced gastric lesions, reflecting either reduced environmental stress or a positive effect of physical stimulation. Pregelatinization of starch increased the empty weight of the proximal GI tract, possibly reflecting increased nutrient uptake.
- growing pigs