Improving post-weaning performance of nursery pigs through a feeding system designed to be compatible with normal weaned pig feeding behavior - Ontario Pork - Recently Funded Research
Monday, August 10, 2020
    

Recently Funded Research

Ontario Pork has a call for research proposals once a year. These projects were approved for funding by the board on recommendation of the research committee. If you have questions or need further information about the research posted here please contact Cristiane Mesquita at cristiane.mesquita@ontariopork.on.ca.


Recently Funded Research

Improving post-weaning performance of nursery pigs through a feeding system designed to be compatible with normal weaned pig feeding behavior

Improving post-weaning performance of nursery pigs through a feeding system designed to be compatible with normal weaned pig feeding behavior

Project 20-007 - Dr. Tim Blackwell, OMAFRA

The stress of weaning commonly results in the need for prophylactic and therapeutic antibiotics in young pigs. One component of this stress is the negative energy balance experienced by young pigs immediately after weaning. Current feeding practices do not imitate the natural feeding behaviour of pigs (small meals multiple times per day). Previous research indicated that a weaned pig needed to consume 200 grams of feed each day for the first three days after weaning to avoid a negative energy balance. Farms that achieved this target hand fed weaned pigs 4 to 8 times per day.

This project will imitate multiple hand feedings by adding a special controller to the standard Rondomat nursery feeder. The standard Rondomat nursery feeder consists of a hopper over a feeding pan with sensors in the pan that direct the hopper to add feed and water whenever the pan is empty. Although an improvement on standard gravity fed hopper feeders, the standard Rondomat does not strictly imitate the natural feeding behaviour of pigs. A specially designed controller will dispense a set amount of dry feed and will be timed to deliver feed every 1.5 to 2 hours with a signal to indicate that feed is available. The amount of feed dispensed per meal can be adjusted to ensure feed aliquots are fully consumed prior to a new delivery of feed. This method of delivering feed more closely approximates natural feeding behaviour thereby improving piglet vigour after weaning and reducing the need for antimicrobials.

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