Abstract The effects of two temperatures (thermoneutral, 22°C v. fluctuating high temperature, 35·22°C), four food levels (ad libitum and three levels of food restriction) on growth and energy retention of growing pigs (male and female) was investigated in a 2 × 2 × 4 factorial experiment involving 48 individually penned pigs from 20 to 50 kg live weight. A second experiment was conducted over the 50 to 80 kg liveweight range using a 2 × 2 × 3 design.
Mean daily digestible energy (DE) intake, daily gain, P2 backfat thickness, carcass fat proportion, total body energy retained and body energy retained as protein did not differ significantly between the temperature treatments in either experiment. Mean carcass protein proportion was greater at 35·22°C than at a constant 22°C.
With pigs given food ad libitum during the 50 to 80 kg phase, an increase in temperature from 22°C to 35·22° reduced daily DE intake by 4·1 MJ (38·9 v. 34·8 MJ or 300 g food per day), reduced energy retention by 2·3 MJ/day (15·6 v. 13·3 MJ/day), and increased carcass protein proportion by 11 g/kg (142 v. 153 g/kg).
There was a significant interaction between the effects of sex and temperature on P2 backfat thickness over both live-weight ranges. Female pigs housed at 35·22°C had 2·6 mm less P2 backfat at 50 kg (13 v. 15·6 mm) and 2 mm less at 80 kg (20 v. 22 mm) compared with females housed at 22°C. The P2 backfat thickness of male pigs did not vary at 50 kg (13·2 v. 13·5 mm) but when housed at 35·22°C males had 1·4 mm more P2 backfat at 80 kg (18·2 v. 19·6 mm).