Diet selection in pigs: Dietary choices made by growing pigs following a period of underfeeding with protein

I. Kyriazakis, G. C. Emmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

99 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Forty pigs (half each of females and entire males) were used in an ad libitum feeding experiment from weaning to 33 kg live weight (LW). In period 1 to 16 kg LW, the pigs had either food L (134 g crude protein (CP) per kg) or food H (278 g CP per kg) alone. The aim was to delay the growth of pigs on L and create two groups of pigs with different body compositions. At 16 kg LW, eight pigs were killed and their empty bodies chemically analysed. The pigs given L had 1·06 (s.e. 0·08) kg more lipid and a lower protein: ash ratio in their empty body than pigs on H; growth rates, from 9 to 16 kg LW, were 386 (L) and 591 (H) (s.e.d. 17)g/day. Both aims were thus achieved. In period 2 the pigs previously given L (no. = 16) or H (no. = 16) in period 1, were given L alone (no. = 4), H alone (no. = 4) or a choice between L and H (no. = 8) to 33 kg LW when the choice-fed pigs were killed and their empty bodies chemically analysed. The objective of the experiment was to test the idea that pigs previously given a food deficient in CP, when given a choice between foods, one of high and one of low, protein content will select a diet of a composition that allows them to correct the effects of the previous mis-feeding. The pigs given L alone in period 2 grew more slowly, and ate more per day, than those given H alone, with no effect of the food given in period 1. Of those given H alone in period 2, the pigs previously given L grew faster, and were more efficient, than those previously given H. The protein contents (g CP per kg food) of the diets selected by the choice-fed pigs were significantly affected by both sex (228 for males v. 181 for females; s.e.d. 15) and the food given in period 1 (233 for L and 175 for H; s.e.d. 15) with no significant interaction between these factors. The pigs from L grew faster (1039 v. 780 (s.e.d. 70) g/day) had a higher daily food intake (1420 v. 1319 (s.e.d. 71) g/day) and were more efficient (0·736 v. 0·595 (s.e.d. 0·034) g gain per g food) than those from H. At 33 kg LW lipid weights were similar for the two period 1 treatments (L had 0·40 (s.e. 0·54) kg more lipid than H); females had 1·79 (s.e. 0·54) kg more lipid than males. It is concluded that, where pigs are given a choice between foods of low and high protein contents, they will select a diet of a composition such that the effects of previous mis-feeding are corrected. Giving pigs a choice between an appropriate pair of foods allows them to select a diet of a composition suitable for their needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-346
Number of pages10
JournalAnimal production
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Apr 1991

Keywords

  • body fat
  • food preferences
  • growth
  • pigs
  • protein intake

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