Two hundred and sixteen pigs were weaned at 14 or 21 d of age to determine the effect of weaning age and commingling after the nursery phase on growth and behavior of pigs in a wean-tofinish facility. Pigs were divided into older and younger age groups and allotted 12 pigs/pen with nine replications of each group. At the end of the nursery phase (d 34 after weaning), one-half of the pigs in each group were removed and commingled for the grower/finisher phase and the other half remained in their original pens. Beginning at weaning (d 0), pigs were monitored via camera surveillance following weaning, commingling, and on d 65 after weaning. While in the nursery phase, older pigs had greater gain and feed intake than younger pigs, however, younger pigs were more efficient throughout the nursery phase than older pigs. Toward the end of the grower/finisher period, younger pigs had greater gain, feed intake, and gain:feed than older pigs and reached a common weight 4 d sooner. Younger pigs spent more time standing or moving during the nursery phase than older pigs. Immediately following commingling, the younger, unmixed pigs spent more time feeding. However on d 65 after weaning, the older, commingled pigs and younger, unmixed pigs spent more time feeding than older, unmixed pigs and younger, commingled pigs. In conclusion, younger pigs grew slower than older pigs during the nursery phase; however, younger pigs gained more during the finishing period. Additionally, weaning age and commingling influenced feeding behavior during the grower/finisher period.
Authur, Sarah C.; Davis, Mari E.; Apple, Jason K.; and Maxwell, Charles V.
"Effect of pig weaning age and commingling after the nursery phase on humoral and behavioral indicators of well-being and on growth performance,"
Discovery, The Student Journal of Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. 5:3-9.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/discoverymag/vol5/iss1/4