Intermittent suckling affects feeder visiting behaviour in litters with low feed intake

W.I. Kuller, N.M. Soede, J.E. Bolhuis, H.M.G. van Beers-Schreurs, B. Kemp, J.H.M. Verheijden, M.A.M. Taverne

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Intermittent suckling (IS) has proven to stimulate creep feed intake in suckling piglets. This paper describes the development of feeding behaviour in three litters with high (H) and three litters with low (L) feed intake during lactation in both control (C) and IS treatment. In order to synchronize the start of intermittent suckling within a farrowing room, treatment day 0 (T0) was designated as the start of data collection. IS litters were separated from the sow for a period of 12 h/day (0930 to 2130) from T14 to weaning (T25). Feeder visits of individual piglets and nursing behaviour were analysed from continuous video recordings at 5 treatment days: T13, T16, T24, T25 and T26. A high number of CL piglets never visited the feeder during lactation; at T24, 56% of the CL piglets did not visit the feeder. On the other hand, 91% of the ISL and CH piglets and all ISH piglets visited the feeder at least once at T24. In contrast to the other groups, no increase was seen in visiting frequency during lactation in CL piglets. At T24, visiting frequency was higher in ISL than in CL piglets. So, IS stimulated piglets from low feed intake litters to visit the feeder. Between T16 and T24, total feeder time increased in piglets from all groups (P <0.05), except in CL piglets in which no change was found (P > 0.10). Latency to first visit to the feeder after weaning did not differ between groups. It is concluded that IS stimulates piglets from litters with a low level of creep feed intake to visit the feeder during lactation, which familiarizes them with the feeder and the feed during lactation. The IS treatment does not affect feeder visiting behaviour of piglets with an anyhow high level of feed intake during lactation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-143
JournalLivestock Science
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • social facilitation
  • weight-gain
  • solid food
  • pigs
  • piglets
  • performance
  • consumption
  • growth
  • birth

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