Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Growing Up Easier For Pacified Piglets

Date:
March 7, 2000
Source:
University Of Guelph
Summary:
Piglet pacifiers may help make early weaning a little easier for little porkers and reduce farmers' production costs. University of Guelph animal scientist Prof. Ian Duncan and graduate student Jeff Rau are developing the pacifier-based feeding system to address growth-related behavior problems in early weaned pigs. The pacifiers -- baby bottle nipples without holes (called "blind" nipples), evenly spaced in the bottoms of weaning pigs' feed troughs -- are central to the system.

Piglet pacifiers may help make early weaning a little easier for little porkers and reduce farmers' production costs. University of Guelph animal scientist Prof. Ian Duncan and graduate student Jeff Rau are developing the pacifier-based feeding system to address growth-related behavior problems in early weaned pigs. The pacifiers -- baby bottle nipples without holes (called "blind" nipples), evenly spaced in the bottoms of weaning pigs' feed troughs -- are central to the system.

And they're not just a gimmick. Poor growth in early weaned pigs, called growth check in the farming industry, is a significant problem. Piglet pacifiers are part of a multi-faceted research project aimed at improving the condition.

"Nutritionists have done what they can with feed," says Rau, "but if a piglet isn't eating, [feed] doesn't do any good."

Piglets normally take 12 to 17 weeks to complete the transition from suckling to dry food. Currently, most producers begin weaning around 17 to 21 days, with a few starting at 14 days. There is little opportunity for the natural transition; the modified trough creates a sense of familiarity, says Rau.

Stressed out piglets are a problem. When they stop gaining weight -- or start losing it – their immune systems are weakened. Weight gain worsens and it takes longer to achieve market weight. This creates problems such as overcrowded housing, and increases farmers' costs.

But while food intake doesn't increase with the pacifier system, it has other advantages. For example, Rau says it appears to improve the welfare of the weaned pigs by reducing stress. At weaning, piglets still have a natural sucking impulse, which can get misdirected towards their litter mates. This condition, called belly-nosing, is highlighted by the piglets sucking, biting and aggressively rubbing each other's undersides, causing sores and hair loss.

Rau says piglets weaned on the new trough are less likely to belly-nose. For farmers, this new feeder could compensate for losses in weight gain associated with weaning four to seven days later, by improving weight gain afterwards. The energy that would otherwise be used for stress- related behaviour such as belly-nosing, can instead be used to grow.

The system is designed to be simple, with reasonable installation and maintenance. For Rau, one of the goals of this project is to "try to account for the needs of the animals and the industry at the same time."

The next step is to complete a study of pigs that have been weaned with the teated feeder to determine if, as in cows, the sucking action stimulates changes in the stomach that improve digestion. Rau says a long-term study is needed on the length of time it takes pigs weaned on the new trough to get to market. If further analysis reveals consistent, beneficial results to pigs and producers, the researchers plan to approach manufacturers and encourage production of this specialized feeder system.

This research is being sponsored by Ontario Pork and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Playtex Products Inc. provided the blind nipples.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Guelph. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Guelph. "Growing Up Easier For Pacified Piglets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000306165515.htm>.
University Of Guelph. (2000, March 7). Growing Up Easier For Pacified Piglets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000306165515.htm
University Of Guelph. "Growing Up Easier For Pacified Piglets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000306165515.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins