Early feeding for lifetime performance of pigs
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Correct feeding and management of the young pig for optimum lifetime performance is a key goal of pig producers, although the associations between these variables are often difficult to quantify. It is well recognised that commercial growth rates of suckling and weaned pigs are less than those that can be achieved when pigs are reared independently of the sow and/or fed greater quantities of a more nutritious source of nutrients such as bovine milk. However, such management interventions for attaining greater postnatal growth rates are not commonplace in the pig industry; the most common form of supplementary feeding of young pigs is creep/starter feed. A frequent question asked by producers and the feed manufacturing industry is whether pigs that achieve a ‘good start’ during the weaning period extend the growth advantage through to slaughter. Data presented in this paper suggest that the weight of the pig at birth explains a substantial proportion of the variation in postnatal growth. An array of different dietary and management interventions has been used to manipulate weaning weight and growth rate after weaning with the aim of maintaining a weight advantage through to slaughter. However, in many cases, the ‘control’ pigs appear to compensate and there are no differences in performance and carcass indices at slaughter. Despite this, recent data from experiments conducted in Western Australia show that processes occurring before and after weaning could influence carcass weight and dressing percentage of pigs that weigh more than 105 kg at slaughter. In particular, the effects of the rearing environment during suckling, the type of creep diet fed during suckling and the housing system after weaning appeared to influence carcass weights and dressing percentages.
|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Murdoch Affiliation:||School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences|
|Publisher:||University of New England|
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