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Hunger in pregnant sows: effects of a fibrous diet and free access to straw

By M. B. Jensen, L. J. Pedersen, P. K. Theil, K. E. B. Knudsen

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Fibrous diets and the provision of straw have been suggested to reduce feeding motivation in pregnant sows. The present experiment investigated the separate and interactive effects of a fibrous diet and ad libitum access to straw on feeding motivation, oral behaviour and plasma levels of metabolites and hormones in pregnant sows. Ten groups of three pregnant sows were housed in pens with concrete floor where a limited amount of chopped straw (approx. 330 g/sow) was provided daily. In 5 of the 10 groups sows had free access to uncut straw in racks in addition to the chopped straw ( Ad libitum straw), while the remaining 5 groups did not ( Limited straw). The experimental period (week 2-9 of pregnancy) was divided into two 4-week periods and in a cross-over design sows within groups were fed a standard control diet (18% dietary fibre) during one period and a fibrous diet containing sugar beet pulp (35% dietary fibre) during the other period. Both diets were offered restrictively at 22 MJ net energy per day and throughout the experimental period sows were fed twice daily at 0800 and 1500 h. At the end of each 4-week period the undisturbed behaviour of the sows was recorded during two 24 h periods. Furthermore, the sows' feeding motivation was assessed during behavioural tests, and blood samples were draw via a jugular vein catheter, at 0700, 0900, 1200 and 1900 h in a balanced design. Feeding motivation was not affected by diet or straw. However, feeding motivation was highest 1 h before morning feeding indicated by a higher number of rewards earned during the entire test ( P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 171
Pages 81-87
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.08.011
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, Blichers Alle 20, DK-8830 Tjele,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adverse effects
  2. Angiosperms
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal nutrition
  5. Animals
  6. Beta
  7. Blood
  8. Diets
  9. Effect
  10. Fatty acids
  11. Feeding
  12. Fiber
  13. Flowers
  14. Hormones
  15. Hunger
  16. Mammals
  17. Metabolites
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. pens
  20. Pigs
  21. Plants
  22. pregnancy
  23. sows
  24. Straw
  25. Suiformes
  26. ungulates
  27. vegetables
  28. veins
  29. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed