How To Affect The High Feed Intake Of Piglets
Size, taste, composition and nutrients, smell, texture and color. They all have an effect on the feed intake of the piglets. Researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands studied the effects on feed intake and feeding behavior in more detail.
A new paper published in the Journal Applied Animal Behavior Science describes a trial that tests the feeding behavior of suckling pigs when feeding different diets. The hypothesis is to present feed in a more diverse form by altering the various sensory properties of the feed, stimulating feed intake before weaning. Stimulating solid feed intake in suckling piglets is important to promote weaning transitions, such as a positive correlation between pre-weaning and post-weaning feed intake.
Feeding behaviour was studied by weighing feed remains and by live observations. Photo: Twan Kastermans
Tested 2 different diets
Piglets were fed ad libitum with 2 feeders at 2 days of age (choose feeding settings). Feed A is an experimental diet from Animal Nutrition Group of Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands. The extruder settings were intentionally altered during the production process, resulting in differences in particle texture, length (8-22 mm) and hardness (7.3-17.7 kg) to produce diversity in feed A. Feed B is a commercial diet, Baby Big XL, from Coppens Diervoeding in the Netherlands). Feed B was a 14 mm diameter pellet having a length of 10-20 mm and a hardness of 6.8 kg.
· Group 1 (dietary diversity (DD), n = 10 litters) is given to Feed A and Feed B, which differ in terms of production methods, size, flavor, composition and nutrients, odor, texture and color.
· Group 2 (flavor novelty (FN), n = 9 litters) received feed A in only two bowls from the age of 2 days. From the 6th day of age, the flavor (The substance which affects the sensory perception of the feed is related to its taste and odor) is added to feed A in a bowl in a daily sequential order.
More diverse, higher feed intake
Feeding behavior was studied by weighing feed residues and by real-time observation. Observations are also used to distinguish between "diners" and "non-eaters." In addition, eateres are divided into different eater categories (ie good, medium and bad). The provision of feed A and B increased feed intake before weaning by 50% compared to feed A alone (with and without other fragrances). Piglets receiving feeds A and B did not have an overall preference for feed intake in feed A or B, indicating an increase in feed intake prior to weaning by increasing the intake of both feeds. These results support the researchers' hypothesis that the more diverse the feed provided in sensory properties (eg composition, texture), the greater the intake. The reason is expected to be sensory-specific satiety and/or intrinsic motivation for piglet exploration. Alternatively, differences in nutrients between the two treatments may have produced physiological effects that may affect feed intake. Future studies will investigate the effects of dietary diversity on the behavior and performance of suckling piglets (feeding) versus the control group (no change conditions) and will study the adaptability of these piglets during novelty testing and post-weaning.