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Performance and meat quality of organically versus conventionally fed and housed pigs from weaning till slaughtering

Millet, S., Raes, K., Broeck, W. van den, Smet, S. de, Janssens, G.P.J.
Meat science 2005 v.69 no.2 pp. 335-341
swine, crossbreds, weanlings, swine housing, organic production, swine feeding, feed intake, animal growth, feed conversion, slaughter weight, pig carcasses, carcass characteristics, meat quality, carcass composition
The effects of organic nutrition on growth performance, meat and carcass traits in either a conventional or an organic housing unit from weaning till slaughtering were evaluated in terminal crossbreeds of a paternal line and a maternal 3-way crossbreed of Seghers hybrid. All pigs were reared in a conventional way from birth till weaning (4 weeks). One week after weaning they were moved to either a conventional or an organic barn. Eight pens of 4 pigs (2 barrows and 2 gilts) were held in both housing types. The study started when the pigs reached the age of 10 weeks. Half of the groups in each barn received a conventional diet, and the other half received an organic diet. Both feeds were isocaloric, neither of them contained antibiotic growth promoters. Three-phase feeding was applied. The organic housing led to a higher feed intake throughout the experiment (P < 0.001), which resulted in a faster growth (P < 0.001) but a lower meat percentage (P < 0.05). Organic nutrition did not affect growth performance and carcass quality. Neither organic nutrition nor housing led to relevant differences in meat quality traits.