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Lene Juul Pedersen

The dose-response relationship between the amount of straw provided on the floor and gastric ulceration of pars oesophagea in growing pigs

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The aim of the present study was (1) to determine the dose-response relationship between the amount of straw provided on the floor and oesophageal ulceration in pigs kept under typical Danish production conditions (18 pigs/pen, 0.7 m2/pig, partly slatted floor, ad libitum access to feed), (2) to reveal whether straw ingestion explains the effect of straw provision on the stomach health and (3) to elucidate the effect of straw ingestion on the stomach conditions. Data were collected at slaughter (approximately 100 kg body weight) on pigs provided with straw amounts in the range 10 g to 500 g wheat straw/pig/day from 30 kg body weight and fed a wheat-based pelleted feed added 15% non-heated and non-pelleted rolled barley. Aims (1) and (2) included 712 pigs kept in 42 pens, whereas (3) was studied on a subset of 37 pigs with either none or obvious amounts of straw in the stomach. The amount of straw provided affected stomach health in a curvilinear manner. Provision of up to approximately 300 g straw/pig/day progressively decreased the risk of oesophageal ulceration and scarring. At larger amounts of straw the ulceroprotective effect of straw was reduced which requires further investigation. Straw ingestion appeared to be an essential intermediary factor for the improvement of stomach health. The number of pigs without straw in the stomach decreased linearly with the logarithm of the amount of straw provided, which explained the effect of straw provision on stomach health and increased the structure of the stomach contents as revealed by the increased weight and dry matter content and decreased sedimentation of the digesta. Provision of approximately 300 g straw/pig/day on the floor may be a potential strategy to reduce, but not inevitably eliminate, oesophageal ulceration in pigs in commercial pig production.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Veterinary Science
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

    Research areas

  • Growing pigs, oesophago-gastric ulcer, straw, welfare

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