Proceedings of the Benelux ISAE conference 2016 pages:25-25
Benelux ISAE location:Berlicum (NL) date:13 October 2016
Certain types of electronic feeders offer pigs the opportunity to work for their feed and, consequently, feed consumption time might increase. We studied the effects of electronic feeders on the behavior of pigs during the fattening period (± 30 kg - ± 110 kg). A total of 72 hybrid pigs, spread across three groups, were followed: group 1 had access to a standard feeder, group 2 had access to an electronic feeder that contained only feed, and group 3 had access to an electronic feeder that contained both feed and straw pellets in separate reservoirs. In presence of the electronic feeders, pigs had to turn around a wheel six times to receive a small amount of feed. This was also the case for access to the straw pellets. All groups received the same feed. Behavior was observed using camera’s, one day per week (10:00h – 17:00h). Data were analyzed using “proc glimmix” (binary distribution) in SAS 9.4. Pigs from group 3 (electronic feed and straw pellets) were more active as they lay down less (72% ± 1.0) than pigs from group 1 (77% ± 1.0) and group 2 (79% ± 1.0) (P=0.005). In addition, these pigs also showed more pen manipulation (8.3% ±0.5) than pigs from group 1 and 2 (7.4% ± 0.5; 7.2% ± 0.6) (P=0.02). The frequency of eating was the highest in group 3 (10% ± 0.6), followed by group 2 (7% ± 0.5) and the lowest in group 1 (4.0% ± 0.3) (P<0.0001). However, aggressive behavior near the feeder was observed more frequently in group 3 (0.27% ± 0.04) and in group 2 (0.24% ± 0.04) than in group 1 (0.01% ± 0.008) (P=0.008). These preliminary results show that eating time increased in presence of an electronic feeder, but some unwanted effects were also observed.