Preference Testing of Substrates by Growing Pigs
The preferences of growing pigs for substrates were investigated by giving small groups of pigs a choice between two substrates in each test. The seven substrates examined were concrete, mushroom compost (spent), peat, sand, sawdust, straw and woodbark. Thirteen comparisons of pairs of substrates were tested with four replicates of each comparison. Eleven-week-old pigs (in groups of six) were placed in specially designed choice pens where they had access to two different substrates. The pigs were allowed to habituate to the pen for 1 week and at the end of week 2 the substrates were swapped. In weeks 2 and 3 the time spent by the pigs in each substrate was recorded. Peat, mushroom compost and sawdust were preferred most, with sand next and woodbark and straw being preferred only to concrete. It is suggested that growing pigs may be attracted to substrates which are similar in texture to earth.
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