It is widely recognized that the welfare of pigs can be compromised by severe restrictions of space. According to Directive 2008/120/EC, the minimal floor space allowance for pigs over 110 kg BW (Body Weight) is 1 m2/head, but no further provision is made for heavier animals such as Italian heavy pigs, whose weight at the end of the production cycle is of 160 kg or more. The aim of the present trial was to investigate the effects of two different space allowances on the main behavioural and production traits of Italian heavy pigs. Sixty barrows (initial average BW: 23.9 kg) were used. Animals were kept in small groups (5 pigs/pen). Thirty pigs were given an individual floor space allowance of 1 m2/head (in compliance with European legislation), whereas 30 pigs were given a floor space allowance of 1.3 m2/head. Rearing conditions, management and feeding were identical between the experimental groups. Animals were weekly videotaped and behaviours were assessed by scan-sampling. Growth parameters (ADG–average daily gain and FCR–Food conversion ratio) were collected and pigs were slaughtered at the average BW of 160 kg to assess carcass and meat quality. From our results it is concluded that animals kept at 1.3 m2/head had better productive parameters, showing higher BW at slaughter (P<0.02), higher ADG (P<0.01) and lower FCR (P<0.01) than control pigs. Behavioural differences were observed, with pigs kept at higher space allowances spending significantly more time in lateral recumbency (P<0.001) and less time exploring/pseudo-rooting the pen (P<0.001), with an overall increase in time spent resting (P<0.01) when compared to the control group. No differences were observed in carcass and meat quality. In conclusion, the adoption of higher space allowances can not only be beneficial to swine welfare allowing animals to rest more comfortably, but also improve their productive parameters.

Behaviour and production traits of Italian heavy pigs as affected by two floor space allowances

NANNONI, ELEONORA;MARTELLI, GIOVANNA;DI PASQUALE, JORGELINA;VITALI, MARIKA;SARDI, LUCA
2015

Abstract

It is widely recognized that the welfare of pigs can be compromised by severe restrictions of space. According to Directive 2008/120/EC, the minimal floor space allowance for pigs over 110 kg BW (Body Weight) is 1 m2/head, but no further provision is made for heavier animals such as Italian heavy pigs, whose weight at the end of the production cycle is of 160 kg or more. The aim of the present trial was to investigate the effects of two different space allowances on the main behavioural and production traits of Italian heavy pigs. Sixty barrows (initial average BW: 23.9 kg) were used. Animals were kept in small groups (5 pigs/pen). Thirty pigs were given an individual floor space allowance of 1 m2/head (in compliance with European legislation), whereas 30 pigs were given a floor space allowance of 1.3 m2/head. Rearing conditions, management and feeding were identical between the experimental groups. Animals were weekly videotaped and behaviours were assessed by scan-sampling. Growth parameters (ADG–average daily gain and FCR–Food conversion ratio) were collected and pigs were slaughtered at the average BW of 160 kg to assess carcass and meat quality. From our results it is concluded that animals kept at 1.3 m2/head had better productive parameters, showing higher BW at slaughter (P<0.02), higher ADG (P<0.01) and lower FCR (P<0.01) than control pigs. Behavioural differences were observed, with pigs kept at higher space allowances spending significantly more time in lateral recumbency (P<0.001) and less time exploring/pseudo-rooting the pen (P<0.001), with an overall increase in time spent resting (P<0.01) when compared to the control group. No differences were observed in carcass and meat quality. In conclusion, the adoption of higher space allowances can not only be beneficial to swine welfare allowing animals to rest more comfortably, but also improve their productive parameters.
Proceedings of the International conference on pig welfare: Improving Pig Welfare - what are the ways forward?
70
70
E. Nannoni; G. Martelli; J. Di Pasquale; M. Vitali; L. Sardi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/474968
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