The effect of ‘Transition’ and ‘Jetmix’ feeders on pig performance

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Efficient pig production involves maintaining good growth rates throughout the pig’s lifetime. However, it is well known that a ‘growth check’ normally occurs at weaning and this can increase the time taken to reach a target live weight at slaughter.

The effect of ‘Transition’ and ‘Jetmix’ feeders on pig performance

Recently, new feeder designs, the Transition and Jetmix feeders have been developed to improve the feed intake of pigs post weaning and hence minimise the growth check. The manufacturer recommended that meal should be offered via the Transition feeder for 11 days post weaning, after which meal or pellets should be offered via the Jetmix feeder for the remainder of the growing period. The objective of this study was to compare the performance of post-weaned pigs offered feed (meal or pellets) via a Transition and/or Jetmix feeder or a dry multi-space feeder. Six hundred Large White/Landrace pigs were weaned at 4 weeks of age and, in groups of 20, allocated to one of 5 treatments.

Although feed usage increased during the growing period when feed was offered through the Transition and Jetmix feeders (813 and 844 vs 737 g/day respectively), feed efficiency was poorer (1.53 and 1.58 vs 1.43) than when pigs were offered pellets via the dry multi-space feeders. Although similar growth rates were observed over the growing period, the use of the pellets via the dry multi-space feeder was the most economically efficient (35 p food/kg gain). The performance of pigs was poorer when they were offered meal via the dry multi-space feeder as opposed to pellets. In addition, similar pig performance was attained when only the Jetmix feeder was used instead of both the Transition and Jetmix feeders as recommended by the manufacturer suggesting that the additional cost of installing a Transition feeder was not justified in terms of improved pig performance.

In this study the weight of pigs within a group of 20 varied from approximately 7 to 11 kg at 4 weeks of age. Although, no difference in pig performance between treatments was noted when only small pigs were compared separately to medium and large pigs, it is possible that if the small pigs were physically separated from the group and offered feed via a Transition or Jetmix feeder, benefits may be attained.
Overall, offering pellets through a dry multi-space feeder resulted in similar pig performance, but more efficient use of feed in the growing accommodation compared to the use of the Transition and/or Jetmix feeders. A difference of £4400 per year in feed costs for a 200 sow herd rearing 22 pigs/sow/year was observed between the use of the Jetmix feeder compared to offering pellets via a dry multispace feeder in the growing accommodation.