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The Costs and Effects of Alternative Winter Feeding Strategies for Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus in Multiple-Batch Production

Bastola, Umesh, Engle, Carole R., Haukenes, Alf, Freeman, Donald
Journal of applied aquaculture 2012 v.24 no.4 pp. 283-298
Ictalurus punctatus, blood glucose, catfish, feed intake, feeding methods, insulin-like growth factor I, mortality, osmolality, overwintering, ponds, research planning, tanks, weight loss, winter
Previous work suggested that feeding catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, more frequently over the winter might reduce weight loss. Twelve 0.10-ha ponds were stocked with 987 kg/ha market-sized fish and 2,960 kg/ha sub-marketable fish in November 2008 with treatments of: (1) unfed, (2) fed daily (fed 90 d), and (3) temperature-threshold feeding (fed 62 d). Total gross yield was significantly greater for the temperature-threshold feeding treatment than the unfed control, but survival and mean weight of fish at harvest were not. Net yield was negative for all treatments, due primarily to mortality of market-sized fish. Plasma glucose and insulin-like growth factor-1 did not differ significantly, but plasma osmolality was significantly lower in fasted than in fed fish. Mean feed consumption rates in vats provided evidence to support more frequent feeding over the winter. Overwintering costs were $0.11/kg with temperature-threshold feeding. Research on strategies to reduce winter mortality has potential to reduce overwintering costs.