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Meat Sci. 2005 Feb;69(2):335-41. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2004.08.003.

Performance and meat quality of organically versus conventionally fed and housed pigs from weaning till slaughtering.

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Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Department of Animal Nutrition, Genetics, Breeding and Ethology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Heidestraat 19, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.


The effects of organic nutrition on growth performance, meat and carcass traits in either a conventional or an organic housing unit from weaning till slaughtering were evaluated in terminal crossbreeds of a paternal line and a maternal 3-way crossbreed of Seghers hybrid. All pigs were reared in a conventional way from birth till weaning (4 weeks). One week after weaning they were moved to either a conventional or an organic barn. Eight pens of 4 pigs (2 barrows and 2 gilts) were held in both housing types. The study started when the pigs reached the age of 10 weeks. Half of the groups in each barn received a conventional diet, and the other half received an organic diet. Both feeds were isocaloric, neither of them contained antibiotic growth promoters. Three-phase feeding was applied. The organic housing led to a higher feed intake throughout the experiment (P<0.001), which resulted in a faster growth (P<0.001) but a lower meat percentage (P<0.05). Organic nutrition did not affect growth performance and carcass quality. Neither organic nutrition nor housing led to relevant differences in meat quality traits.

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