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Effect of system of feeding and watering on performance of lactating sows

Peng, J.J., Somes, S.A., Rozeboom, D.W.
Journal of animal science 2007 v.85 no.3 pp. 853-860
sows, lactation, sow feeding, drinking water, animal performance, ad libitum feeding, pig feeders, water content, feeding preferences, parity (reproduction), genotype, feed intake, liveweight gain, body weight, backfat, thickness, estrus, weaning weight, piglets, drinking, costs and returns, profitability, appetite
An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of ad libitum access to feed and water and the option to mix feed and water, all in the same feeder, on the performance of multiparous lactating sows. Feed and water were made available to sows using a self-fed wet/dry (SFWD) or a hand-fed (HF) feed-water system. In the SFWD system, feed and water were dropped into a common trough area of the feeder. The sow determined when and how much of each was dropped. With feed falling onto the flat area of the bottom of the SFWD feeder trough and water falling into the shallow bowl area, and with the 2 areas seamlessly connected, the sow also determined the wetness of the feed consumed. In the HF system, sows were given dry feed twice daily in a J-shaped feeder that was independent of the sow's water source. Sows (n = 114) were assigned to treatments based on parity and genotype. Total feed disappearance per sow during lactation (20 ± 0.2 d) was greater (P < 0.01) with the SFWD system than with the HF system (120 vs. 110 ± 4.1 kg, respectively). The SFWD sows had greater (P < 0.01) BW gains during lactation than HF sows (6.2 vs. 0.6 ± 1.85 kg, respectively). Backfat depth change during lactation did not differ (P = 0.37) between treatments. Likewise, percentage of sows displaying estrus by d 11 post-weaning did not differ (P = 0.51). Piglet weaning BW was greater (P < 0.01) with the SFWD system than with the HF system (6.63 vs. 6.12 ± 0.22 kg, respectively). Sow average daily water intake and total feed wastage during lactation did not differ (P > 0.66) between treatments. However, sows with the SFWD system wasted less water (P < 0.01) than those with the HF system (15 vs. 232 ± 12 L, respectively). From a commercial swine production perspective, the difference in waste water volume would result in a significant variation in costs associated with manure storage and distribution. In conclusion, use of a SFWD feed-water system in lactation, which provides sows choices of when to eat, how much to eat, and if dry feed should be mixed with water during consumption, enhances sow appetite, improves litter growth performance, and wastes less water than a HF feed-water system.