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J Anim Sci. 2008 Dec;86(12):3600-7. doi: 10.2527/jas.2008-0909. Epub 2008 Jul 18.

The effect of heated mash on performance and feeding behavior of newly weaned piglets.

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1
Research Centre for Animal Production and Technology, Georg-August University of Goettingen, D-49377 Vechta, Germany. kerstin.reiners@agr.uni-goettingen.de

Abstract

The influence of heated mash on growth and feeding behavior of newly weaned piglets was investigated. An automatically ventilated nursery with 4 identical pens was used. Twenty piglets weaned at 21 d were housed in each pen. The experiment was repeated 3 times. In total, data were obtained from 240 piglets of 12 pens. The pens were provided with a sensor-controlled, automatic feeding device, which dosed a ready-mixed mash in a trough. In each of 2 of the pens, the feed was mixed with warm water at 36 degrees C, during the first week of weaning. This heated mash had a temperature of 34 degrees C at the outlet of the automatic feeding device (experimental group). In the 2 control groups, the water was not heated and the temperature of the mash was 14 degrees C at the outlet of the automatic feeding device. From the second week of weaning, the mash had a temperature of 14 degrees C at the outlet of the automatic feeding device in all 4 pens. Piglets were weighed at weaning, at weekly intervals through 49 d after weaning, and on d 139 after weaning. Behavior of the whole group, as well as behavior of selected focal animals, was evaluated for the first 48 h after weaning. In addition, skin condition of piglets was assessed on day of weaning and on d 7, 14, and 21 after weaning. The amount of feed consumed by the piglets was recorded on a daily basis throughout the whole period of nursery. Over the total period of the study, piglets in the experimental group gained 3.98 +/- 1.66 kg (P = 0.047) more than the control group. The difference was particularly clear during the nursery period (49 d) when the experimental group gained 0.89 +/- 0.23 kg more than the control group (P = 0.03). Although piglets in the control group consumed 37.15 +/- 0.15 kg of feed over the complete nursery period, the experimental group consumed 42.56 +/- 0.15 kg per piglet (P = 0.023). By heating the mash feed in the first week after weaning, both growth performance as well as feed consumption of piglets could be increased. No difference in feed conversion and feeding behavior was found between groups.

PMID:
18641176
DOI:
10.2527/jas.2008-0909
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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