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Research article2006Peer reviewed

Influence of increased feeding frequency on behavior and integument lesions in growing-finishing restricted-fed pigs

Hessel EF, Wulbers-Mindermann M, Berg C, Van den Weghe HFA, Algers B


This study evaluated how feeding frequency affects behavior and the occurrence of skin lesions in growing-finishing pigs. One hundred eighty pigs (27 to 112 kg of BW) were reared in one environmentally controlled room (20 pens; 9 pigs/pen). Pigs in 10 pens were fed 3 times daily (reference group), whereas the others were fed 9 times daily (experimental group). Both groups received the same total amount of liquid feed. Rations were adjusted to the mean pen weights. Behavioral observations (scan sampling, as well as continuous focal pig observations) were made in wk 4, 10, and 14 of the growing-finishing period. After each observation, skin lesions were assessed individually for each pig. Pigs fed 9 times daily tended to lie laterally for less time (P = 0.083) and tended to be active (P = 0.054) during the day, especially in growing-finishing wk 4 (P = 0.007). With continuously observed focal pigs, no differences in time allocations for feeding were found between groups. During feeding in growing-finishing wk 4, focal pigs belonging to the experimental group displayed more aggressive actions (P = 0.019), tended to perform aggressive actions for a longer time (P = 0.076), and tended to be belly-nosed for a longer time (P = 0.083) compared with the reference group. In addition, in growing-finishing wk 14, pigs in the experimental group had greater scores for skin lesions (head, P = 0.001; belly, P < 0.001; caudal part, P < 0.001) and tended to be belly-nosed for a longer time (P = 0.084). In the case of pigs restricted-fed liquid feed, a greater frequency of feeding per day appears to be a condition that results in greater competitive feeding than with a lower feeding frequency


feeding behavior; feeding frequency; pig; skin lesions; social behavior

Published in

Journal of Animal Science
2006, Volume: 84, number: 6, pages: 1526-1534