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Voluntary food intake of growing pigs

  • D. J. A. Cole (a1) and S. A. Chadd (a1)

Abstract

The amount of food eaten by the pig is a balance between the needs of the animal and the ability of the food to meet those demands. Major factors influencing the needs of the animal are live weight, genotype and sex. Equations have been established to predict the intake of pigs at different live weights but variation exists amongst these equations which reflect a change to genotypes with smaller appetites. Rapid growth may be limited by the appetite of the pig and differences in intake between the sexes are notable, the biggest being castrated males compared with boars and gilts. Intakes of boars and gilts can be similar but often gilts eat slightly more. Dietary energy has a marked effect, with the pig attempting to adjust its daily energy intake by eating less of high-energy diets. The extent to which it can exert this physiological control is limited when a stage is reached where it is unable to compensate by eating more of a low-quality diet because of physical capacity. The influence of protein on intake has received much less attention but there are clear indications that pigs eat less of diets which are very high or very low in crude protein. Intake is also influenced by protein quality and there is evidence from work at the University of Nottingham that quite small variations in lysine level relative to other essential amino acids can markedly affect intake.

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Voluntary food intake of growing pigs

  • D. J. A. Cole (a1) and S. A. Chadd (a1)

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