Research

The assessment of straw intake in sows and growing pigs housed in straw based systems, using an acid indigestible marker technique

Abstract

The aim of this study was to quantify straw bedding intake using a naturally occurring plant cell wall component (lignin) found in feed and straw, and linking this to a known amount of added indigestible marker. This dual marker system, also allows us to determine how straw bedding intake affects the digestibility of nutrients such as fats and protein.

Description

Cereal straw has long been used as a bedding material for indoor pigs. At present,  there are large ranging estimates of how much sows and growing pigs housed in these systems actually consume. Highly fibrous materials like straw have been shown to speed up the flow of digesta through the gut, leading to less nutrients being absorbed in the ileum, in favor of a transfer of nutrients to the hind gut. The frequency of replenishing straw may affect intake, as straw provided daily may be seen as a novel item and therefore may encourage consumption. The ingestion of straw bedding may also have a role to play in the delivery of mycotoxins (particularly ZEA and DON), that may result in poor animal health.

The aim of this study was to quantify straw bedding intake using a naturally occurring plant cell wall component (lignin) and linking this to a known amount of added indigestible marker. This dual marker system also allowed us to determine how straw bedding intake affected the digestibility of nutrients such as fats and protein. The findings suggest that while sows consume a considerable amount of straw bedding, newly weaned pigs with no prior experience of straw did not eat any measurable amount in this study. 

Funding Body

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Lead Organisation

Harper Adams University

Publications

Mansbridge, S.C. Stewart, A.H. (2012) An assessment of straw intake by acid insoluble markers in commercial pigs housed in straw based systems Advances in Animal Biosciences 3 (1), P. 56

Documents

Click the file name to download the project file:

Cookies on the Harper Adams University website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time.