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J Anim Sci. 2007 Apr;85(4):972-5. Epub 2006 Nov 22.

Technical note: A model to estimate individual feed intake of swine in group feeding.

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Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40546, USA.


In most animal growth experiments, groups of animals are housed within a pen. Occasionally, an individual animal shows a very different growth rate than its pen mates or dies during the experiment. When this happens, if pen feed intake (PFI) cannot be reestimated for the calculation of ADFI and feed efficiency, an observation will be lost from the data set. Therefore, we propose a model to estimate individual feed intake (IFI) of pigs in group feeding, with subsequent validation of the model using group feeding simulation studies. In the proposed model, the feed intake (FI) of each affected pen is partitioned into FI for maintenance (FI(m)) and FI for growth (FI(g)) for each animal within that pen. First, individual pig FI(m) for the period is calculated using the 1998 National Research Council estimation of ME for maintenance. Then, FI(m) for all pigs in the pen is summed. The difference between the summed FI(m) and the total PFI is that which supported growth in the pen. Next, FI(g) is calculated by apportioning the remaining feed equally to each unit of gain within the pen. Finally, the estimated IFI for the pig being removed from the pen is the sum of FI(m) and FI(g) for that pig; this FI estimate is subtracted from the original PFI to leave the new PFI for the remaining pigs. The validity of the estimated IFI is dependent on the accuracy of the maintenance energy equation and the energy analysis of the feedstuffs. In simulation studies, we compared the accuracy of the proposed method with 2 other methods. In simulation study 1, the proposed model showed better accuracy than at least one of the other methods during all tested periods (P < 0.001). In simulation study 2, the greater accuracy of the proposed method compared with 2 other methods was demonstrated again. Because calculation of IFI is relatively cumbersome, we developed a feed intake correction spreadsheet (FICS), an Excel spreadsheet containing macros for FI correction. All of the calculation procedures in the proposed model are included within the feed intake correction spreadsheet. The Excel file and instructions are being made available via a Web site.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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