In two experiments, the first with 96 pigs from 5 weeks of age and the second with 384 pigs from 3 weeks of age, high nutrient dense diets (HND) or conventional diets (CONV) were given with (50 g/kg diet) or without fish meal, up to slaughter at 90 kg live weight. Diets were unmedicated. In both experiments pigs were given food according to scales which equalized digestible energy intakes for the HND and the CONV diets. In experiment 1 pigs were individually fed; in experiment 2 group feeding was practised with pens of 16 pigs either floor or trough fed.
There was no mortality in experiment 1, but the mortality was high in experiment 2, particularly amongst those pigs receiving the CONV diet without fish meal. In experiment 1, in the first 56 days, inclusion of fish meal in the CONV and HND diets significantly improved growth rate but food conversion efficiency was significantly improved in the CONV diet only. Overall, up to slaughter, growth rate and food conversion efficiency were significantly poorer in pigs given the CONV diet without fish meal (cf. the three other diets) but the HND diets were significantly better than the CONV diet with fish meal. In experiment 2, overall there were no significant differences in performance between floor- and trough- feeding methods, CONV diets without fish meal gave significantly poorer growth rates in the first 56 days and overall than the other three diets, between which there were no significant differences. In both periods, for food conversion efficiency, fish meal inclusion was without significant effect in the HND diets but significantly improved the CONV diets, both of which were significantly inferior to the HND diets.