Energy utilization in pigs selected for high and low residual feed intake

Barea, R.; Dubois, S.; Gilbert, H.; Sellier, P.; van Milgen, J.; Noblet, J.
June 2010
Journal of Animal Science;Jun2010, Vol. 88 Issue 6, p2062
Academic Journal
Genetic selection on residual feed intake (RFI) can be used as an alternative method to G:F to improve feed efficiency in pigs. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of selection for RFI on digestive and metabolic utilization of energy in 2 lines of purebred French Large White castrated male pigs obtained from a divergent selection experiment over 6 generations. The RFI+ (high RFI) line consumed more feed than predicted from performance compared with the RFI– (low RFI) line. Digestibility of energy and nutrients, total heat production (HP), HP related to physical activity, and energy and N balance were measured in respiration chambers for a 6–d period in pigs offered feed ad libitum. Pigs remained in the chamber for an additional day and did not receive any feed to estimate the fasting HP and calculate the thermic effect of feeding. Five pairs of 2 littermates from the same farrowing batch were used in each line. Because 2 respiration chambers were available for the trial, pigs were measured regularly during the 25– to 95–kg growing period. Two pigs per chamber were used until pigs reached 45 kg of BW, and 1 pig per chamber was used thereafter. Individual feed intake and BW gain were measured continuously from weaning to the end of the trial. Pigs were fed 3 diets with decreasing CP contents during the 25 to 45 (period 1), 45 to 65 (period 2), and 65 to 95 (period 3) kg of BW periods. Average daily feed intake was greater in RFI+ pigs than in RFI– pigs between 25 and 65 kg of BW (2,128 vs. 1,891 g/d; P < 0.01) and G:F was 8% greater in RFI– pigs compared with RFI+ pigs (P < 0.01). There was no line effect on digestibility coefficients or N retention, irrespective of the experimental period studied. Nitrogen retention was 31.2, 28.7, and 20.8 g/d at periods 1, 2, and 3, respectively (P < 0.001). The HP was greater in RFI+ pigs than in RFI– pigs (1,497 vs. 1,383 kJ∙kg of BW–0.60∙d–1; P < 0.01), with no subsequent line effect on energy retention. The activity-related HP tended to be greater in RFI+ pigs than in RFI– pigs (250 vs. 218 kJ∙kg of BW–0.60∙d–1; P = 0.09), and the fasting HP was 10% greater (P = 0.04) in RFI+ pigs than in RFI–1 pigs (846 vs. 771 kJ∙kg of BW–0.60∙d–1). The thermic effect of feeding, expressed as a percentage of ME intake, was the same for both lines of pigs (average, 14.7%). In conclusion, the RFI+ pigs are energetically less efficient because of their greater HP related to physical activity and basal metabolic rate.


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