Energy metabolism in young pigs as affected by establishment of new groups prior to transport

M.J.W. Heetkamp, J.W. Schrama, W.G.P. Schouten, J.W.G.M. Swinkels

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Energy metabolism was studied in 9-week-old-pigs as affected by mixing just before transport. In each of three trials, two groups of 20 pigs (two litters of 10) were randomly assigned to one of two treatments: control and mixing. Each group was housed in one of two climatic chambers with each subgroup in one of two pens. In each trial, the two litters within the mixing treatment were mixed, just before transport, at the start of a 2-week experimental period. In the control treatment, the social structure of both litters in each trial was not altered. In both treatments, large alterations of energy partitioning from week 1 to week 2, are probably signs of recovering from transportation and/or adaptation to new feeding and housing conditions. Mixing just before transport did not change total energy metabolism but only increased nonactivity-related heat production by 3.1 or the total experimental period. Most likely, long-term performance is also not affected negatively by mixing. Animals seem to be able to change energy expenditure on activity when more energy is required for other physiological processes. This symptom of possible reallocation of energy between different vital live processes (e.g. behavior, protein turn-over) might be one of the first indications of an impaired well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-152
JournalJournal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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