Feed intake of the sow and playful creep feeding of piglets influence piglet behaviour and performance before and after weaning

Anouschka Middelkoop, Natasja Costermans, Bas Kemp, J.E. Bolhuis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Creep feed intake is variable and may be partly homeostatically and exploratory driven. We studied effects of maternal feed restriction and a ‘play-feeder’ on piglet behaviour and performance. 37 Litters received creep feed in a conventional (CON) or play-feeder (PL) and their sows were full-fed (FF) or restrictedly-fed (RES). Eaters were determined via rectal swabs. At weaning (d24) four piglets from the same treatment were grouped (n = 36 pens). RES hindered piglet growth by 41 g/d and enhanced time eating, creep feed intake and percentage of eaters at weaning versus FF. RES-PL had the largest proportion of moderate and good eaters. PL stimulated feeder exploration and attracted more piglets to the feeder than CON. Post-weaning, RES increased exploratory behaviours, feed intake between d0–5, and growth between d0–2, and reduced body lesions between d0–2 (within CON), drinking and ear biting. PL increased ingestive behaviours, feed intake and growth between d0–15, and BW at d15 post-weaning by 5%. PL also lowered the prevalence of watery diarrhoea, number of body lesions and piglets with ear (within FF) and tail (within RES) damage at d15 post-weaning. Treatments did not affect FCR. To conclude, RES and particularly PL (broader and for longer) result in less weaning-associated-problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16140
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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