Agostini, P. S. and Fahey, A. G. and Manzanilla, E. G. and O'Doherty, J. V. and Blas Beorlegui, Juan Carlos de and Gasa, J.
Management factors affecting mortality, feed intake, and feed conversion ratio of grow-finishing pigs.
"Animal", v. 8
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of animal management and farm facilities on total feed intake (TFI), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and mortality rate (MORT) of grower-finishing pigs. In total, 310 batches from 244 grower-finishing farms, consisting of 454 855 Pietrain sired pigs in six Spanish pig companies were used. Data collection consisted of a survey on management practices (season of placement, split-sex by pens, number of pig origins, water source in the farm, initial or final BW) and facilities (floor, feeder, ventilation or number of animals placed) during 2008 and 2009. Results indicated that batches of pigs placed between January and March had higher TFI (P=0.006), FCR (P=0.005) and MORT (P=0.03) than those placed between July and September. Moreover, batches of pigs placed between April and June had lower MORT (P=0.003) than those placed between January and March. Batches which had split-sex pens had lower TFI (P=0.001) and better FCR (P<0.001) than those with mixed-sex in pens; pigs fed with a single-space feeder with incorporated drinker also had the lowest TFI (P<0.001) and best FCR (P<0.001) in comparison to single and multi-space feeders without a drinker. Pigs placed in pens with <50% slatted floors presented an improvement in FCR (P<0.05) than pens with 50% or more slatted floors. Batches filled with pigs from multiple origins had higher MORT (P<0.001) than those from a single origin. Pigs housed in barns that performed manual ventilation control presented higher MORT (P<0.001) in comparison to automatic ventilation. The regression analysis also indicated that pigs which entered to grower-finisher facilities with higher initial BW had lower MORT (P<0.05) and finally pigs which were sent to slaughterhouse with a higher final BW presented higher TFI (P<0.001). The variables selected for each dependent variable explained 61.9%, 24.8% and 20.4% of the total variability for TFI, FCR and MORT, respectively. This study indicates that farms can increase growth performance and reduce mortality by improving farm facilities and/or modifying management practices.