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Effects of sweeteners on individual feed intake characteristics and performance in group-housed weanling pigs
- Sterk, A., Schlegel, P., Mul, A.J., Ubbink-Blanksma, M., Bruininx, E.M.A.M.
- Journal of animal science 2008 v.86 no.11 pp. 2990-2997
- sweeteners, feed intake, animal performance, group housing, weanlings, piglets, piglet feeding, saccharin, experimental diets, weaning
- To assess the effects of 2 high intensity sodium saccharine-based sweeteners on individual feed intake characteristics and performance of group-housed weaned pigs, one hundred ninety-eight 26-d-old weanling pigs were given ad libitum access to 3 dietary treatments containing: no additional sweetener (control), 150 mg of sweetener (Sucram C-150)/kg, or 150 mg of sweetener (Sucram 3D)/kg. At weaning, piglets were allocated to 18 pens (11 pigs/pen) based on BW, sex, and ancestry, and pens were randomly assigned to 3 treatments with 6 pens per treatment. The pens were equipped with computerized feeding stations. During the first 12 d, pigs were offered pelleted prestarter diets that were replaced at once by pelleted starter diets for the last 7 d of the 19-d experimental period. The individual feed intake characteristics consisting of latency time (interval between weaning and first feed intake), initial feed intake (intake during the first 24 h following the first feed intake), the number of total visits per day, and the number of visits in which feed was consumed, together with the time and the feed intake per visit, were determined for all piglets. Performance traits and fecal consistency were determined per pen for d 0 to 5, d 5 to 12, and d 12 to 19, as well as for the total period (d 0 to 19). The initiation of feed intake was not affected by the addition of high intensity sweeteners to the diet. From 12 d postweaning, dietary sweeteners caused the piglets to focus more on feed intake and less on exploratory behavior, as shown by the increased percentage of visits with feed intake in pigs fed the Sucram 3D diet compared with those fed the control diet (P = 0.002). The overall daily feed intake increased with time but was not affected by the addition of sweeteners. Nevertheless, dietary sweeteners prevented the depression of feed intake on d 8 and 10 postweaning (d 8, P = 0.013; d 10, P = 0.014), which seemed to coincide with an improved fecal consistency score (d 5 to 12, P = 0.11; d 12 to 19, P < 0.001). However, the changes in feed intake characteristics and fecal consistency only resulted in numerical effects on postweaning pig performance (ADFI, P = 0.126; ADG, P = 0.140). The results of the present study indicate that weanling pigs need a certain period of time before clear effects of dietary sweeteners on individual feed intake characteristics and pig performance can be observed.