News

Family Feeding Matters

Published on
October 13, 2021

Newly weaned piglets in pig husbandry have to adapt to the abrupt changes in their diet and environment, which may lead to a reduced growth, as well as health and welfare problems.

In the Family Feeding Matters project, adaptations were made to the feeding system and feed offered to the sow and piglets in the farrowing pen. These adaptations were based on natural behaviour of pigs, and were aimed at easing the weaning transition for piglets. Key features of the new Family system and Family feed were more opportunities for interaction between the sow and her piglets, including eating and exploring together; playful exploration of feed to develop feeding behaviour; and pre- and postnatal flavour information transfer. One of the findings of a study on the new Family system is that it reduces the development of damaging behaviours, such as tail biting and ear biting, and leads to a higher proportion of piglets that ingest feed during the suckling period. For more information, see the report (in Dutch).