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Evidence of genetic variability for digestive efficiency in the growing pig fed a fibrous diet

  • J. Noblet (a1) (a2), H. Gilbert (a3), Y. Jaguelin-Peyraud (a1) (a2) and T. Lebrun (a1) (a2)

Abstract

Energy digestibility in the growing pig increases with BW increase and may differ between breeds of pigs or between lines selected on criteria other than digestion. However, little is known about the variability in energy digestibility within a line or a breed of pigs, especially when fibrous diets are fed. For this purpose, 20 Large White castrated male growing pigs originating from four boars (five per boar), and three to four sows per boar, were fed a high dietary fibre (DF) diet (18% NDF) and measured over 10 consecutive weeks (30 to 95 kg BW range) for their apparent faecal energy, nitrogen and organic matter digestibility. Each week, faeces were totally collected over 5 days and the feed dry matter intake over the same days was recorded. All digestibility coefficients increased regularly (P < 0.001) over the experimental periods or with BW increase (+0.6 point/10 kg BW increase for energy); this rate of increase was not affected by boar origin (no interaction; P > 0.05). The digestibility coefficients were affected by boar origin (P < 0.005 for energy), with about 2 points for energy between the extremes (81.7% v. 79.5%), and there was no marked interaction between boar origin and period. These preliminary results suggest the possibility of selecting growing pigs for an increased digestive efficiency when fed high DF diets.

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