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Effect of dietary fibre and feeding system on activity and oral behaviour of group housed gilts

By F. Brouns, S. A. Edwards, P. R. English

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Abstract

The low feeding level common in practice for dry sows has been linked to the occurrence of stereotypies. A total of 54 gilts were allocated to three treatments and housed in groups of 6 in straw bedded pens with individual feeding stalls. The treatments consisted of control (C) 2.0 kg of a conventional diet (13.0 MJ DE, 44 g crude fibre per kg diet) fed once daily; restricted fibre (RF) 2.3 kg of a diet containing 500 g unmolassed sugar-beet pulp per kg (11.3 MJ DE, 107 g crude fibre per kg diet) fed once daily; ad libitum (AF), the same fibrous diet offered ad libitum from a single space hopper. Direct observations at feeding time showed that RF gilts took longer to consume their ration than C gilts and that fibre fed gilts were less active in the post-feeding period. This was confirmed by time-lapse video-recordings. Feeding the fibrous diet once daily reduced the incidence of oral behaviours relative to treatment C, and the oral behaviours which still occurred did not have the appearance of stereotypies. Very few abnormal oral behaviours were observed when the fibrous diet was offered ad libitum. The time spent rooting was reduced when the diet was offered once daily, but was reduced even further when the diet was offered ad libitum, suggesting that the feeding motivation of gilts which received a fibrous diet was less than that of the control gilts.

Date 1994
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 39
Issue 3/4
Pages 215-223
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Scottish Agricultural College, School of Agriculture, 581 King Street, Aberdeen AB9 1UD, UK.
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Diets
  6. Feeding
  7. Feeding behavior
  8. Fiber
  9. Gilts
  10. Intake
  11. Mammals
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. stereotypes
  14. Swine
  15. systems
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed