Effect of Breed (Lean or Fat Pigs) and Sex on Performance and Feeding Behaviour of Group Housed Growing Pigs in a Tropical Climate

  • Renaudeau, D. (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Unite de Recherches Zootechniques) ;
  • Giorgi, M. (Unite de Production et de Sante Animale) ;
  • Silou, F. (Unite de Production et de Sante Animale) ;
  • Weisbecker, J.L. (Unite de Production et de Sante Animale)
  • Received : 2005.07.05
  • Accepted : 2005.10.19
  • Published : 2006.04.01


The effects of breed and sex on individual growth performance and feeding behaviour were studied between 45 and 90 kg BW in two replicates of forty group-housed pigs. The first and the second replicates were carried out during the warm season (i.e. between February and April 2003) and during the hot season (i.e. between August and October 2003), respectively. During the warm season, ambient temperature and relative humidity averaged $25.3^{\circ}C$ and 86.0%. The corresponding values for the hot season were $27.9^{\circ}C$ and 83.6%. The pigs were grouped in pens of 10 animals on the basis of breed (Creole or Large White) and sex (gilt or castrated male) and given ad libitum access to a grower diet (9.0 MJ/kg net energy and 158 g/kg crude protein) via feed intake recording equipment (Acema 48). An ear-tag transponder was inserted into each pig and this allowed the time, duration, and size of individual visits to be recorded. The growth performance and feeding pattern were significantly affected by breed, sex, and season. The Creole pigs (CR) had a lower average daily gain (ADG) (642 vs. 861 g/d, p<0.01) and carcass lean content ($LC_{90kg}$) (35.4 vs. 54.5%; p<0.01) and a higher backfat thickness at 90 kg BW ($BT_{90kg}$) (23.4 vs. 10.4 mm; p<0.01) than Large White pigs (LW) whereas the average daily feed intake (ADFI) was not affected by breed (2.34 vs. 2.22 kg/d, respectively for CR and LW pigs; p>0.10). Consequently, the food:gain ratio was higher in CR than in LW (3.65 vs. 2.58; p<0.01). CR had less frequent meals but ate more feed per meal than LW (5.9 vs. 8.8 meals/d and 431 vs. 279 g/meal; p<0.01). The rate of feed intake was lower (27.6 vs. 33.9 g/min; p<0.01) and the ingestion time per day and per meal were higher in CR than in LW (87.1 vs. 69.7 min/d and 15.8 vs. 8.4 min/meal; p<0.01). The ADFI and BT90 kg were higher (2.38 vs. 2.17 kg/d and 18.1 vs. 15.9 mm; p<0.05) and LC90 kg was lower (43.5 vs. 46.4%; p<0.01) in castrated males (CM) than in gilts (G) whereas ADG was not affected by sex (p = 0.12). The difference in lean content between CM and G was greater in CR than in LW. The ADFI and ADG were reduced during the hot season (2.18 vs.2.38 kg/d and 726 vs. 777 g/d, respectively; p<0.05) whereas feed conversion and carcass lean content were not affected by season (p>0.05). Average feeding time per meal and meal size decreased during the hot season (10.9 vs. 13.2 min/meal and 316 vs. 396 g/meal; p<0.01) whereas the rate of feed intake was not affected by season (p = 0.83). On average, 0.69 of total feed intake was consumed during the diurnal period. However, this partition of feed intake was significantly affected by breed, sex, and season. In conclusion, the breed, sex and season significantly affect performance and feeding pattern in growing pigs raised in a tropical climate. Moreover, the results obtained in the present study suggest that differences observed in BW composition between CR and LW are associated with difference in feeding behaviour, in particular, the short-term regulation of feed intake.


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