Examination of high-resolution feed intake data of growing-finishing pigs confronted with high deoxynivalenol contents present in their feed
Modern single space feeding systems for fattening pigs allow the detailed assessment of an individual animal’s feeding behaviour. In an experiment involving 96 fattening pigs, the influence of deoxynivalenol (DON) contaminated feed (> 4 500 µg/kg DON) on the zootechnical performance and feeding behaviour was compared with a feed with low DON concentration (< 900 µg/kg DON), this served as the control group. Additionally, in separate treatments, two commercial mycotoxin binders were added to the DON-contaminated feeds to assess if an expected DON effect could be attenuated. The high DON content significantly (P < 0.03) reduced daily feed intake (500–600 g/day). The DON group showed 240 g less daily gain compared to the control with 728 g/day. Both mycotoxin binders were seen to additionally depress weight gain by approximately 65 g/day (P < 0.01). The treatment did not affect the individual feeding behaviour as assessed by daily visits to the feeder, feed intake per visit and the highest feed intake per visit per day. These were influenced only by the pig and its pen, indicating that the animals developed a distinct behaviour within their respective groups. Behaviour analyses of persistency and day-to-day variation showed that the persistency was reduced and variation was increased when DON without or with binder was present. The DON contents therefore seemed to lead to a more erratic and less consistent behaviour that remained dependent on the animal group.
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