Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems
Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems

Deliverable D2.1 A database with information on feeding behaviour in pigs as a trait related to feed efficiency

Authors: 
IRTA
Publication date: 
6 December 2017
Full title: 
Deliverable D2.1 A database with information on feeding behaviour in pigs as a trait related to feed efficiency
Publishing information: 
Feed-a-Gene, December 2017
Abstract: 

Objectives

The objective of this document is to provide a description of a database created within the framework of Feed-a-Gene, containing phenotypic performances records of growing purebred Duroc pigs, including feed intake and feed efficiency measurements, as well as a number of feeding behaviour traits.
This database is created with the aim of exploring the phenotypic relationship between performance traits and traits related with the feeding behaviour of the animals. This would be the basic step to propose feeding behaviour traits as new traits informing about the nutrient efficiency of animals. Information on this topic in pig production in literature is scarce and limited to the most common lean meat production breeds. Our aim is to explore these features in a Duroc line selected within a production scheme focused on the meat quality. The animal material we are using comes from a company within a consortium devoted to the commercialization of high quality meat products (e.g. loins and hams). For this reason, a Duroc line is used as a maternal line in their breeding scheme. The present deliverable is developed in Feed-a-Gene WP2, but has high value for WP5 as well. The database we are describing will be used to explore the genetic component of the putative relationship between feed efficiency and welfare and behaviour traits.

Rationale

To constitute the data set, we merged historical data, recorded in three previous projects, and three batches controlled within the framework of Feed-a-Gene. Two additional batches will be considered in a later stage, one of which will be realized in 2018 and is funded by a Spanish National Research Project (see below). The procedure adopted in all batches of animals is the same. After getting in contact with the company providing the purebred animals, a sample of the offspring of the currently active boars and sows of the line is identified at birth, and when these animals reach about 60-70 days of age, they are taken to IRTA’s experimental farm. Immediately after arrival to the experimental control station, they are allotted by sex and size in homogeneous groups of 13-15 animals. Each of the groups is placed in pens equipped with IVOG® feeding stations (Insentec, Markenesse, and The Netherlands) to start controlled feeding. The information generated by these devices is useful for monitoring feed intake as well as feed behaviour traits. Animals in each of the batches follow the same protocol in the experimental farm.

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