Effects of Bedding on Pig Performance and Feed Digestibility: Progress Report

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The increased demand for pork, reared in bedded systems, has caused more pigs to be produced in bedded systems such as hoop barns. Much of the current swine nutrition information has been generated in confinement settings without bedding. As omnivores, pigs ingest some bedding. The objectives of the study were to determine the effects of bedding on finishing pigs in bedded hoop barns by: 1) conducting digestibility trials using indigestible markers in the feed, and 2) conducting a growth performance study of pigs with and without bedding in hoop barns.

The trials were conducted during summer 2010 and will continue in 2011 at the ISU Western Research Farm, Castana, IA in three mini-hoop barns each with two pens. Each hoop had one bedded and one non-bedded pen of pigs. Cornstalks were used as bedding. Each pen had a self-feeder with one feeder space and an automatic waterer. The gating between the pens was altered to allow no bedding to pass through.

All pigs on the trials were barrows. There were 2 trials during summer 2010 and there will be 2 trials in summer 2011. There were five pigs per pen starting at approximately 150 lb and fed for 49 days. For the last 14 days of the trials, the feed included titanium oxide as an indigestible marker. After five days on the marker, a fecal grab sample was collected from each pig. Fecal samples were frozen for later analysis of the marker to determine feed digestibility. Because the experiment is not complete, statistical analysis was not conducted; however, the growth feed intake, feed efficiency, backfat thickness and loin muscle area were similar for the barrows with and without bedding during summer months. Feed digestibility values are pending laboratory analysis.

Keywords: ASL R2615

How to Cite: Honeyman, M. S. & Patience, J. F. (2011) “Effects of Bedding on Pig Performance and Feed Digestibility: Progress Report”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report. 8(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/ans_air-180814-146