A total of 114 sows were allotted to one of the two systems evaluated. One group was hand fed (HF) twice daily and had a feeder that was independent of the water source. The other group had ad libitum access to the feed with the so called self-fed wet/dry (SFWD) system, in which the sow determines when and how much of feed or water is dropped into a common area of the feeder.
During the lactation (20 days) the average daily feed intake was higher with the SFWD system (5,9 kg/sow) than with the HF system (5,4 kg/sow kg, P < 0,01), being the feed wastage not different between systems. Water intake was not different between systems, but a higher water wastage was found in the HF (232 vs 15 litres/sow, P<0,01). Piglet weight at the end of lactation was higher in the sows SFWD compared to the HF sows (6,63 vs 6,12 kg). Although sows in the SFWD had a greater body weight gain compared to HF sows, back fat thickness change during lactation and the percentage of sows displaying oestrus on the eleventh day after lactation, did not differ (P>0,37).
The authors conclude that using a SFWD system may be useful to increase sow productivity during lactation and also to reduce the costs associated with manure storage and distribution.
JJ Peng, SA Somes, DW Rozeboom. 2007. Journal of Animal Science. Vol 85: 853-860.