Foraging in the farrowing room: getting piglets to eat is bitter sweet
This thesis focuses on the feed intake of suckling piglets in relation to the weaning transition. Due to an abrupt transition in feed, social and physical environment at the time of weaning, stress arises, which results in dysbiosis of the intestine, including the intestinal bacteria. The results of this thesis have led to new feeding strategies that can improve the welfare and productivity of piglets around weaning. This was achieved by stimulating piglets' natural exploration, play and eating behavior from an early age. For a good performance of piglets after weaning, a gradual transition to solid feed is important and the housing conditions before and after weaning should be in line with each other. Based on this thesis, it can be argued that piglets should be given the opportunity to forage and play from an early age, and should maintain this ability in the subsequent rearing phases.