Eating and drinking activity of newly weaned piglets: effects of individual characteristics, social mixing, and addition of extra zinc to the feed.

标题Eating and drinking activity of newly weaned piglets: effects of individual characteristics, social mixing, and addition of extra zinc to the feed.
文章类型Journal Article
作者Dybkjaer, L., Jacobsen A. P., Tøgersen F. A., & Poulsen H. D.
期刊Journal of animal science
发表日期2006 Mar
关键词Animal Feed, Animals, Body Weight, Diet, Dietary Supplements, Drinking, Eating, Female, Male, Sex Factors, Social Behavior, Social Environment, Swine, Time Factors, Weaning, Zinc

In production systems, piglets usually fast for a period after weaning, thereby increasing the risk of diarrhea and a reduction in growth. The low level of eating may relate to insufficient drinking activity, as solid feed intake must be accompanied by water intake. Mixing of newly weaned piglets is a well-known stressor and a common procedure in pig production. The effect of mixing on the temporal development of eating and drinking activity in newly weaned piglets has not been elucidated. High concentrations of zinc (Zn) in the feed improve the health and performance of piglets after weaning, but the underlying mechanisms are still obscure. One possibility is that Zn affects eating and drinking behavior. The effects of mixing 4 littermates from each of 2 litters and adding zinc oxide (ZnO; 2,500 ppm of Zn) to the feed were studied in a 2 x 2 factorial experiment using 123 piglets weaned at 27 d of age. Individual eating and drinking times during the initial 48 h after weaning were analyzed on 2 levels of aggregation, day and hour. The piglets spent less time eating on the first day after weaning compared with the second day (20 +/- 5 vs. 98 +/- 10 min, respectively; P < 0.001), whereas they spent more time drinking on the first day compared with the second day (13 +/- 1 vs. 9 +/- 0.5 min, respectively; P < 0.001). Eating and drinking times were positively associated (P < 0.001). Females ate for longer than males (61 +/- 8 vs. 44 +/- 7 min/24 h, respectively, P = 0.002), whereas sex did not affect drinking time. Drinking time increased (P = 0.003) and eating time decreased (P = 0.001) with increasing preweaning growth rate and weaning weight. Neither mixing nor addition of ZnO affected the daily eating time. However, nonmixed piglets given 2,500 ppm of Zn as ZnO in the feed spent more time drinking per day (12 +/- 1 min) than did nonmixed piglets offered 100 ppm of Zn as ZnO (10 +/- 1 min; P = 0.002). Mixing also affected the hourly distribution of the drinking activity (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the drinking behavior of newly weaned piglets was more affected by the external factors, mixing and addition of ZnO to the feed, than the eating behavior. As eating and drinking are strongly associated, more focus should be paid to the water intake and the interplay between eating and drinking behavior in future studies aiming to reduce weaning problems.

Alternate JournalJ. Anim. Sci.