© 2015 Elsevier Inc. Commercial pigs display an innate attraction for sweet taste compounds. However, the impact of long-term availability to supplementary carbohydrate solutions on their general feeding behavior has not been examined. In this work we assess the effect of 12-days exposure to 16% sucrose and 16% maltodextrin solutions on the feed intake and growth performance of piglets, and on their preference and appetence for sweet or protein solutions. The innate preference of piglets was assessed by an initial choice test between 2% sucrose and 2% animal plasma solutions for a period of three minutes. Piglets showed higher intake and preference for 2% sucrose than for 2% animal plasma. In Experiment 1, piglets were then free-offered a 16% sucrose solution as a supplement to the diet, showing a higher intake of it than water and a reduction in feed intake and weight gain. A similar situation occurred during the last days of free-exposure to a 16% maltodextrin solution in Experiment 2. The choice test between 2% sucrose and 2% animal plasma solution was repeated after the exposure to the concentrated solutions. In both experiments, a reduction in the initial preference for 2% sucrose was observed. Similarly, piglets that had previous access to the 16% sucrose and 16% maltodextrin solutions showed a decrease in the appetence for 2% sucrose in comparison with that for 2% animal plasma, as measured by a one-pan test at the end of the experiments. It is concluded that long-term exposure to concentrated sucrose and maltodextrin solutions reduces feed intake and growth in weanling piglets, and also reverses their innate preference and appetence for dilute sweet over protein solutions.
- Carbohydrate solution
- Growth performance