Strategies to improve the growth and homogeneity of growing-finishing pigs: Feeder space and feeding management

Sergi López-Vergé, Josep Gasa, Déborah Temple, Jordi Bonet, Jaume Coma, David Solà-Oriol

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11 Citations (Scopus)


© The Author(s). 2018. Background: The aim was to test two strategies to improve the growth rate of the slow-growth pigs and to increase the batch's homogeneity at slaughter. In Trial 1 a total of 264 weaned piglets were distributed into 24 pens (11 piglets/pen) according to sex and initial body weight (BW) for the transition period (T; 28 d to 64 d). During the T period, a commercial lidded feeder hopper was used (3.7 pigs/feeder space). When moving to the growing facilities, the 24 pens were maintained and split into two groups of 12 according to sex, feeder type (HD or 5.5 pigs/feeder space and LD or 2.2 pigs/feeder space). In Trial 2 a total of 1067 piglets were used and classified, when leaving the nursery at 63d of age, as Heavy (Hp, n = 524) and Light (Lp, n = 543) pigs. Along the growing period, Hp and half of the Lp pigs were fed with four consecutive feeds, following a standard feeding program (Std). Alternatively, the other half of the Lp pigs were fed according to a budget approach, changing the first three feeds on the basis of an equivalent feed consumption instead of age (Sp). Results: In Trial 1, higher BW (80.2 kg vs. 82.1 kg; P = 0.02), ADG (704 g/d vs. 725 g/d; P = 0.02) and lower number of lesions were observed for pigs raised in the LD treatment, compared to the HD treatment at d 154 (P < 0.05). The CV of the final BW was numerically lower for the LD treatment. In Trial 2, higher BW and ADG and lower CV were observed for the LSp pigs from 83 d until 163 d (P < 0.001) of age compared to LStd. Moreover, an interaction observed for carcass weight at slaughter (P = 0.016) showed that the Sp pigs had a higher carcass weight than did the Std pigs, and the difference increased as the emptying of the barn facility advanced. Conclusion: It is concluded that feeder space and feeding management may affect the growth of growing-finishing pigs and body-weight homogeneity at the end of the period.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalPorcine health management
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2018


  • Coefficient of variation
  • Feeder spaces
  • Feeding management
  • Growth
  • Market body weight
  • Pigs
  • Variability


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