The effects of diet form and feeder design on the growth performance of finishing pigs



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Kansas State University. Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service


A total of 1,146 growing pigs (PIC 1050 × 337, initially 85.8 lb) were used in a 104-d study to evaluate the effects of diet form (meal vs. pellet) and feeder design (conventional dry vs. wet-dry) on finisher pig performance. The treatments were arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial with 11 replications per treatment and 25 to 27 pigs per pen. Half of the pens were equipped with a 5-hole conventional dry feeder and the other half had a double-sided wet-dry feeder. All pigs were fed a corn-soybean meal-based diet containing 20% dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) during the first 4 dietary phases and 10% DDGS in phase 5. The only difference in diet among treatments was diet form (meal vs. pellet). Pen weights and feed disappearance were measured on d 0, 14, 28, 42, 56, 70, 86, and 104. Pictures of feeder pans were taken once during each phase and evaluated by a panel of 4 individuals for percentage pan coverage. From d 0 to 28, no diet form × feeder design interaction was observed for ADG or F/G. Pigs fed pelleted diets had poorer (P < 0.001) F/G compared with those fed meal diets, which appeared to be due to poor pellet quality (39.6% fines). From d 42 to 86, pellet quality improved (4.4% fines), and a diet form × feeder interaction (P < 0.02) was observed for ADG, whereas pigs presented meal diets in a dry feeder had decreased ADG compared with pigs presented pelleted diets in dry feeders or pigs presented feed via wet-dry feeders regardless of diet form. Pigs presented pelleted diets had improved (P < 0.001) F/G compared with those fed meal diets. Pigs fed via wet-dry feeders had increased (P < 0.03) ADFI and poorer F/G compared with pigs with dry feeders. Overall, pigs fed with wet-dry feeders had increased (P < 0.02) ADG and ADFI, and poorer F/G compared with those with dry feeders, whereas pigs presented pelleted diets had a tendency for improved (P < 0.06) F/G compared with those presented meal diets. In conclusion, regardless of diet form, pigs fed from wet-dry feeders had increased ADG and ADFI compared with pigs fed via dry feeders. Additionally, pellet quality appeared to influence responses because pigs provided higher-quality pellets via dry feeders had increased growth performance compared with pigs fed meal diets. Conversely, if pellet quality was poor, feed efficiency benefits associated with pelleting were lost.



Swine, Feeder, Finishing pig, Growth, Pelleting