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Feeding Dry Sows Ad libitum with High Fibre Diets

  • Ru, Y.J. (SARDI-Pig and Poultry Production Institute, Roseworthy Campus) ;
  • Bao, Y.M. (SARDI-Pig and Poultry Production Institute, Roseworthy Campus)
  • Received : 2003.09.04
  • Accepted : 2003.11.04
  • Published : 2004.02.01

Abstract

Currently commercial dry sows are housed in individual stalls and subject to restricted feeding. These sows often show stereotypic behaviours which increase their maintenance energy requirement. Group housing is desirable to improve animal welfare and public perception. However, under restricted feeding systems, group-housed dry sows are also aggressive. The feed intake of these sows is variable, depending on their social rank, which results in different milk production and variable piglet performance. These problems can be solved by ad libitum feeding systems, but the large capacity of intake by dry sows will not allow this feeding system to be practical as high feeding level during pregnancy can reduce reproduction performance of sows. Current research indicates that feeding high fibre diets to dry sows enables sows to be fed ad libitum, but the effect of dietary fibre on feed intake and nutrient utilisation is dependent on the quality of fibre sources. Most research has focused on sugar beet pulp, straw, lucerne meal and by-products, but there is a need to identify and evaluate some widely available and cheap fibre materials and feed grains for developing the best strategy to control nutrient intake of dry sows while feeding ad libitum.

Keywords

Pigs;Fibre Sources;Reproduction;Nutrition;Animal Welfare

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