Good husbandry practices for ad libitum feeding of finishing pigs have traditionally provided between 50-75 mm trough space per pig. However, following the success of commercial pig producers in Denmark and The Netherlands in using single-space feeders, these feeders are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. If pig performance is unimpaired, the saving in floor area required for feeders may provide an opportunity to increase stocking rate per pen.
Two hundred and sixteen entire male and female pigs of about 30 kg liveweight at 12 weeks of age were blocked by sex and weight to groups of 12 and allocated at random to one of 3 treatments:
1. Ad libitum feeding with one single-space feeder (occupying 0.326 m2 floor area).
2. Ad libitum feeding with 2 single-space feeders (occupying 0.652 m2 floor area).
3. Ad libitum feeding with one multi-space feeder (occupying 0.439 m2 floor area).
Pigs were housed in an environment controlled house managed on a fully-slatted slurry system with no bedding used. The single-space feeders (QE Fivestar c) incorporate a 5 starred wheel which pigs operate with their snouts to drive an auger which dispenses a metered amount of feed from a bulk hopper.