University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Teat order, feed consumption, pigs, ghrelin, swine


A relationship between teat order and feed consumption has been assumed in pigs, but no study has looked at this exact relationship. Pigs were observed shortly after birth to be in either a cranial, middle, or caudal teat positon. Growth performance data and active and total plasma ghrelin concentrations were analyzed at birth, weaning, and at the end of the nursery stage of production to see if a relationship with teat order was present. Overall, no effect of teat order was found on average daily gain, average daily feed intake, gain-to-feed ratio, or body weight among pigs from each section of the udder. Differences did occur during certain stages of nursery, which can be of economic importance to producers. No difference was seen in active or total ghrelin levels or the active-to-total ghrelin ratio in relation to teat order, although there were differences in active and total ghrelin concentrations among the sampling days. Further research should be carried out to investigate what factors would contribute to this data contradicting previous inferences about the relationship of teat order and feed consumption in pigs.