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Increasing Creep Feed Intake by Stimulating Exploratory Behaviour using Enrichment

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre by PSCI on December 2, 2014

Th is project examined whether increasing exploratory behaviour in piglets by providing enrichment in the farrowing pen can stimulate creep intake in piglets. If successful, this concept would be a simple way to reduce stress at weaning and increase growth rates. Four treatments were tested in a 2 x 2 factorial design comparing presentation of creep in a standard feeder (SF) or a large tray feeder (TF), to encourage social interaction around the creep, combined either with enrichment (E) or without enrichment (C). Enrichment consisted of cotton ropes hung in the farrowing pen. Results found that feeder type rather than enrichment increased the frequency of piglet visits to the feeder, with a greater frequency of visits to the TF on days 12 and 26 of age. Litters supplied with the TF also had a greater daily creep disappearance. However, litters supplied with the SF had a greater birth to wean ADG (kg). Aft er weaning, piglets with the SF and enrichment had a significantly greater growth check within the fi rst 24 hours of moving into the nursery, while the ADG of piglets in all other treatments did not diff er. At weaning, groups that received a TF did not show a negative ADG in the fi rst 24 hours post-weaning, while groups with the SF had negative ADG values for this period. There were no treatment differences in ADG values for any other time period. The increased creep disappearance found with the TF suggests piglets were interacting with the creep. However, birth to wean growth rates did not reflect any benefits of increased creep consumption suggesting, that feed wastage may have been greater with the TF. We conclude that providing pigs with a larger feeder that encourages social feeding and rooting had a greater infl uence than rope enrichment at attracting them to creep feed. Effects of the TF on feeding behavior needs to be studied further to understand how exposure to the TF in farrowing prevented weight loss on day 1 post weaning as was found in groups provided the SF.

Increasing Creep Feed Intake


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