Tests of two theories of food intake using growing pigs 2. The effect of a period of reduced growth rate on the subsequent intake of foods of differing bulk content

E. C. Whittemore*, G. C. Emmans, B. J. Tolkamp, I. Kyriazakis

*Corresponding author for this work

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of a period of feeding on a high bulk food, upon the subsequent intake of foods of differing bulk content, was investigated in two experiments of the same design. The intention was to provide n severe test of the two current conceptual frameworks available for the prediction and understanding of food intake. In each experiment 40 male Manor Meishan pigs were randomly allocated to one of four treatment groups at weaning. Each experiment was split into two periods, P1 (12 to 18 kg) and P2 (18 to 32 kg). The treatments, all with ad libitum feeding, were: a control food (C) given throughout (treatment CC); a medium bulk food (M) given throughout (treatment MM); a high bulk food (H) given in P1 and then C in P2 (treatment HC); H given in P1 and M in P2 (treatment HM). C was based on micronized wheat with 13.4 MJ digestible energy and 243 g crude protein per kg fresh food. In experiment 1 M contained 350 g/kg and H 560 g/kg of unmolassed sugar-beet pulp and in experiment 2 M contained 500 g/kg and H 700 g/kg of unmolassed sugar-beet pulp. Framework 1 predicted that food intake on the medium bulk food (M.) would not be increased, whereas framework 2 predicted that intake on M would be increased after a period of feeding on H, compared with when M was offered continuously. In PI, both food intake (P < 0.01) and growth (P < 0.001) were severely limited on H compared with C. In experiment 1 growth was limited on M compared with C during the first 7 days of P1 (P < 0.01) only. In experiment 2 intake (P < 0.001) and growth (P < 0.001) on M were limited throughout PI, compared with C but not thereafter. Therefore, in neither experiment did M cause a lower growth rate than C from 18 to 32 kg. In experiment 1 there was full adaptation to M after about 10 days from 12 kg. In experiment 2 adaptation was complete by the end of the first 7 days from 18 kg. In P2, food intake (P < 0.001) and live-weight gain (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001 in experiments 1 and 2, respectively) were increased on HC compared with CC. By the last 7 days of P2 intake was still higher (P < 0.02) but growth rate was no longer different to CC. Intake and gain were increased in P2 on HM compared with MM but, in general, these differences were small and not significant. In the first 7 days of P2, in experiment 1 pigs on HM had higher intakes (P < 0.001) and gains (P < 0.05) than those on MM, but in experiment 2 only intake was higher (P < 0.01) with no difference in gain. By the last 7 days of P2 there was no difference in either intake or gain between these two groups in either experiment. Pigs on HC increased intake by more than those on HM. There was, therefore, a significant interaction for food intake (P < 0.05, in experiment 1 and P < 0.002, in experiment 2) between prior and present food. The unexpected failure of either M food to limit growth throughout the experimental period meant that the results of these experiments could not be used as a strong test to reject either one of the frameworks. However, the ability of the pigs to compensate on M was less than that on C. The data provide some evidence that under conditions of compensation foods such as M may be limiting. This is in closer agreement with the framework that predicted that consumption of a limiting food will not increase after a period of feeding on a high bulk food (framework 1).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-373
Number of pages13
JournalAnimal Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Dec 2001


  • Compensatory growth
  • Fibre
  • Food intake
  • Pigs


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