Effects of double stocking and weighing frequency on pig performance in wean-to-finish production systems

B. F. Wolter, M. Ellis, J. M. DeDecker, S. E. Curtis, G. R. Hollis, R. D. Shanks, E. N. Parr, D. M. Webel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Two studies were carried out in different wean-to-finish barns to determine the effects of double stocking on pig growth performance. In Study 1, pigs (n = 1,560) were used in a randomized complete block design with a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments: initial stocking treatment (Single [52 pigs/pen] vs Double [104 pigs/pen] stocked for 10 wk after weaning) and weighing frequency (High [12 times during the study] vs Low [3 times]) on pig performance from weaning (5.9 ± 0.01 kg BW; 17 d of age) to harvest (114 ± 0.67 kg BW). Floor and feeder space per pig were 0.650 m2 and 4 cm and 0.325 m2 and 2 cm for the single-and double-stocked treatments, respectively. In Study 2, pigs (n = 1,458) were used in a randomized complete block design to evaluate two initial stocking treatments (Single [27 pigs] vs Double [54 pigs] stocked for 10 wk after weaning) on pig performance from weaning (4.8 ± 0.01 kg BW; 15 d of age) to harvest (24 wk after weaning). Floor and feeder space per pig were 0.640 m2 and 3.4 cm and 0.320 m2 and 1.7 cm for single- and double-stocked pens, respectively. In both studies, double-stocked pigs were split at the end of wk 10 into two equal-sized groups of similar mean BW and CV of BW, and one group was moved to a different pen in the same building. In Study 1, performance was not affected (P > 0.10) by frequency of weighing. For the first 10 wk after weaning, the Double compared to the Single treatment had lower ADG (7.7 and 7.9%, for Studies 1 and 2, respectively; P < 0.001) and lighter pigs at wk 10 (6.8 and 7.3%, respectively; P < 0.001). During the first 10 wk in Study 1, Double compared to the Single pigs had lower ADFI (7%; P < 0.001) but similar gain:feed (P > 0.10). From wk 11 to harvest, pigs on Double and Single treatments had similar (P > 0.10) ADG in both studies and, in Study 1, ADFI was unaffected by initial stocking treatment, but double-stocked pigs had greater gain:feed (4%, P < 0.01). Double-stocked pigs required an additional 2 d to reach a fixed harvest BW (P < 0.05) in Study 1 and were lighter (4%; P < 0.05) at 24 wk after weaning in Study 2. Carcass measures were similar (P > 0.10) for double- and single-stocked pigs. Double-stocked pigs that were moved at the end of 10 wk had growth performance similar (P > 0.10) to those that remained in the original pen. In summary, double stocking reduced growth rate to 10 wk after weaning but subsequently had no effect on growth rate and improved feed efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1442-1450
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Volume80
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2002

Keywords

  • Finishing
  • Pigs
  • Stocking Rate
  • Weaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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