Performance and endocrine responses of group housed weaner pigs exposed to the air quality of a commercial environment

C. Lee, L.R. Giles, W.L. Bryden, J.L. Downing, P.C. Owens, A.C. Kirby, Peter Wynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The growth performance and endocrine responses of male weaner pigs (3 to 8 weeks of age) was evaluated in two different environments (clean and dirty) and housing (single or groups of 10 pigs/pen) conditions. The dirty environment contained significantly elevated ammonia, carbon dioxide and dust levels compared with the clean environment. Pigs grew faster and consumed more feed in the clean environment and this was associated with reduced plasma cortisol concentrations compared with pigs in the dirty environment. Pigs housed in groups in the dirty environment had increased ß-endorphin and decreased IGF-I concentrations compared to group housed pigs in the clean environment. Feed conversion efficiency did not differ due to environment or group housing. Plasma concentration of cortisol, ß-endorphin, IGF-I and IGF-II did not differ between single and group housed pigs. Activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis was greater in response to environmental conditions than group housing, and this was associated with reduced growth in weaner pigs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalLivestock Science
Volume93
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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