This study aimed at evaluating the effects of a cold temperature applied during the post-weaning and growing-finishing periods, on growth performance and body composition of pigs, and at assessing the reversibility of these effects.
A total of 84 piglets (castrated males and females) were submitted to two treatments during the post-weaning period: Cold temperature (F: from 23°C to 15°C) and Thermoneutrality (T: from 28°C to 23°C). After this period, 12 piglets were slaughtered in each treatment; 18 F piglets were reared at 12°C (FF) and 18 F and 24 T piglets were reared at 23°C (FT and TT, respectively) up to commercial slaughter weight
(115 kg). Animals were individually housed and fed ad libitum during post-weaning and growing-finishing periods.
Cold temperature applied during the post-weaning period increased feed consumption and reduced growth rate, feed efficiency and carcass adiposity of F compared to T piglets. During growing-finishing period, FF pigs exhibited higher feed intake and feed conversion ratio than FT and TT pigs. Carcass composition did not differ between FF, FT and TT pigs excepted for higher shoulder percentage in FF compared to TT (P= 0, 04). Altogether, the effects of cold temperature on growth performance and body composition were reversible when pigs were placed at thermoneutrality (FT) during the growing-finishing period.
J. Faure, L. Lefaucher, M. Kouba, B. Lebret. Croissance du porc à une température d'élevage basse: effets sur les performances et la composition corporelle. 2012. Journées Recherche Porcine, 44, 281-282.