The design of the feeding environment for the pig
Food being by far the biggest cost to the pig producer, the efficiency of every aspect of pig feeding is of paramount economic importance. The design of pig feeders has not been the subject of much systematic research yet it appears to give rise to huge inefficiencies (such as food wastage of up to 30%) under certain circumstances. Five experimental studies related to pig feeder design are presented in this thesis. Studies of the size and shape of pigs whilst feeding produced a data base of pig head and shoulder dimensions for a range of live weights (20-160 kg). It was intended that feeder profiles could be designed from this database to fit around the estimated shape of any live weight (or range of live wieghts) of pigs. Feeder height preferences were studied by simultaneous presentation of a range of feeder heights. This revealed that pigs will feed at a wide range of feeder heights (from below floor level to approximately pig shoulder height) but prefer to feed at, or near, floor level. A preliminary study of group, ration-feeding suggested that the currently recommended trough space allocation limits access to the trough excessively. All the pigs were seen to feed together for only 24% of the time.