Pigs prefer 3 square meals a day

Jun 24, 2008

Pigs raised in conventional indoor pens have different feeding patterns from those raised under more natural conditions. Research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica shows that while pigs in the wild spend much time searching for food and eat little and often, the preferred feeding regime for conventional raised pigs is three meals a day.

Lead author, Eva Persson, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences explains that, "The natural feeding behaviour of pigs is searching for feed by rooting activities throughout the day; self-feeding pigs randomly space their activities and generally consume between ten and twelve meals in an average day. By replicating this pattern in conventional indoor kept pigs, we had hoped they would fare better than those fed the traditional three meals."

All of the 360 pigs in the study received the same amount of food, spaced out into either three meals or nine and delivered as liquid feed. Contrary to what may be expected, feeding the pigs in a more 'natural' way did not result in a better outcome. In fact, the pigs fed three times gained over 100g more per day than the pigs fed more frequently.

As Persson reports, "Increased daily feeding occasions among group-housed pigs resulted in a poorer daily weight gain and an increased number of stomach problems. It will be of great interest to those in the farming and animal welfare fields that this study does not support increased daily feeding occasions in fattening pigs".

Each group of nine pigs in this study had to share one 3 m trough. Due to the fact that pigs will naturally fight for prime feeding positions, one likely explanation for the poorer performance in the pigs fed more often is increased competition within the group. The authors note 'More feeds mend smaller ratios each time and it is possible that each feeding occasion in our study did not offer enough feed to satisfy the hunger of all the pigs".

Citation: "Increasing daily feeding occasions in restricted feeding strategies does not improve performance or well being of fattening pigs ", Eva Persson, Margret Wulbers-Mindermann, Charlotte Berg and Bo Algers, Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Study identifies first-ever human population adaptation to toxic chemical, arsenic

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Early hominids ate just about everything

Feb 17, 2015

Reconstructions of human evolution are prone to simple, overly-tidy scenarios. Our ancestors, for example, stood on two legs to look over tall grass, or began to speak because, well, they finally had something ...

Flood of dead pigs in China reservoir: report

Mar 26, 2014

Hundreds of dead pigs are being recovered every month from a Chinese reservoir, partly due to government efforts to stop carcasses making their way onto the dining table, state media said Wednesday.

Researchers re-evaluate swine nutrition

Aug 05, 2013

For a new study in the Journal of Animal Science, researchers evaluated how different concentrations of lipids affect growth performance in weaned pigs. The researchers also studied how different sources of lipids affect ...

Recommended for you

The origins of polarized nervous systems

7 hours ago

(Phys.org)—There is no mistaking the first action potential you ever fired. It was the one that blocked all the other sperm from stealing your egg. After that, your spikes only got more interesting. Waves ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Walf
not rated yet Jun 24, 2008

This probably applies also for human beings. People who eat 3 square meals per day will gain more weight :-P
vlam67
not rated yet Jun 24, 2008
Fascinating! It'll be extremely hard to put into words from the starving hordes of Terra think about the wisdom that this research imparts to them!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.