a1 Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA 6907, Australia
Two hundred and ten piglets weaned at 30 days of age and weighing 9 kg were allocated to a 3 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments to examine the influence of feeder type ('wet and dry' single-space feeder (SSF), 'dry' SSF, or multi-space feeder) and method of group allocation (piglets from different litters were mixed together, or piglets were weaned with their littermates) on performance after weaning. The use of a 'wet and dry' SSF did not enhance growth rate or voluntary food intake (P > 0-05) in the 28 days after weaning. Piglets feeding from 'wet and dry' SSF grew proportionately 0-06 slower in the 28 days following weaning as a result of a 0-45 proportional decrease (P = 0.013) in growth in the 1st week. Piglets mixed together from different litters at weaning grew proportionately 0.34 faster (P = 0.010) in the first 14 days after weaning than piglets weaned as littermates. This initial difference resulted in a 0-14 proportional increase in growth rate from day 1 to 28 (385 v. 339 glday, P < 0.001). Piglets from different litters mixed at weaning consumed proportionately from 0.06 to 0.16 more food (P = 0.096) than piglets weaned as entire litters. No interactions between feeder design and the method of group allocation at weaning occurred for any of the production parameters measured. Single-space feeders failed to increase the production of weaner piglets, whilst mixing non-littermate piglets into a new social group seemingly enhanced performance from weaning to 56 days of age.
(Received February 06 1995)
(Accepted August 16 1995)
p1 Present address: School of Veterinary Studies, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia