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Gestating sows’ feeding behaviour with precision feeding

Abstract : Precision feeding (PF) of gestating sows, with the individual and daily mixing of two diets with different nutrient content was previously reported to reduce protein intake, feed costs and environmental losses compared to a conventional single diet feeding (CF). The effect of PF on sows’ feeding behaviour has not been reported yet as this strategy has mainly been studied via modelling. The objective of this study, realised within the Horizon 2020 EU Feed-a-Gene program (grant agreement no. 633531), was to compare feeding behaviour of sows in gestation fed with a PF or a CF strategy. The experimental trial included 5 successive batches of 12-18 sows, housed in groups in a room (8×8 m) equipped with two automatic feeders able to daily mix two diets for each animal. The total number of visits to the feeder per day per sow (4.9 visits/d) and the total daily time spend in the feeder (64 min/d) was not affected by parity. After 70 days of gestation, PF sows visited the feeder more often than CF sows (5.1 vs 4.1 visits/d, P<0.01), and PF sows stayed longer in the feeder than CF sows (79.8 vs 55.6 min/d). The number of feeding visits to the feeder was on average of 1.1 per day per sow, and did not vary with feeding strategy. This number was slightly higher for multiparous sows compared to primiparous (1.08 vs 1.02±0.01 (SE), P<0.01). The average daily eating time was not affected by the feeding strategy or parity, and was on average of 36 min per day per sow. The higher frequency of feeding visits to the feeder occurred after 00:30 at the start of the new feeding day in this farm. Then the frequency of visits decreased exponentially until 10:00 when all sows had already eaten their daily ration. The afternoon (from 13:00 to 21:00) was quiet with rare visits to the feeder. The frequency of non-feeding visits increased before the start of the new feeding day at 00:30 and in the morning (peaks reached at 23:30 and 9:00). In conclusion, independently of their feeding strategy, most of the sows only need one visit to eat their entire ration, usually in the first hours of the new feeding day. After 70 days of gestation, PF sows visited the feeder more often than CF sows.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03141424
Contributor : Emilie Bernard <>
Submitted on : Monday, February 15, 2021 - 11:47:29 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 1:50:13 PM

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Charlotte Gaillard, Raphaël Gauthier, Jean-Yves Dourmad. Gestating sows’ feeding behaviour with precision feeding. 71. Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP), EAAP, Dec 2020, Virtual meeting, Portugal. ⟨hal-03141424⟩

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