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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Nutrition

Blood parameters in fattening pigs fed whole-ear corn silage and housed in group pens or in metabolic cages1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 93 No. 8, p. 3901-3908
    Received: Mar 21, 2015
    Accepted: May 17, 2015
    Published: July 24, 2015

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. F. Abeni 2*,
  2. F. Petrera*,
  3. A. Dal Prà*,
  4. L. Rapetti,
  5. L. Malagutti and
  6. G. Galassi
  1. * Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria (CRA), Centro di ricerca per le produzioni foraggere e lattiero-casearie–Sede distaccata di Cremona, Via Porcellasco 7, 26100 Cremona, Italy
     Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, Via Giovanni Celoria 2, 20133 Milano, Italy


The aim of this work was to evaluate the effects of the inclusion of whole-ear corn silage (WECS) in diets for advanced fattening heavy pigs (substitution for part of the dry corn and wheat bran) allocated or not in metabolic cages on the main blood parameters. The high-moisture shelled corn is largely used in pig feeding while WECS is less often used despite the fact that it increases the DM crop yield. Three experimental diets were fed to 27 barrows (Italian Large White × Italian Duroc), with an average BW of 98.2 (±5.6) kg at the start of the trial, and randomly allotted to 3 experimental groups including a control diet (CON) containing cereal meals (corn, barley, and wheat, 80.2% DM in total), soybean meal (9% DM), wheat bran (8% DM), minerals and supplements (2.8% DM), and 2 diets containing WECS (15 or 30% DM referred to as 15WECS and 30WECS, respectively) in partial or complete substitution for wheat bran and corn meal. The pigs were randomly housed in 9 pens with 3 animals per pen and 3 pens per dietary treatment. Six pigs per each of the 3 treatments were moved from the pens to individual metabolic cages for 3 consecutive periods (2 pigs per treatment per period). Each period lasted 14 d, and blood was collected at the start and at the end of the periods. Blood was drawn from the jugular vein before feed distribution in the morning, at 14 d intervals, and analyzed for hematological, metabolic, and serum protein profiles. The effect of the metabolic cage housing was included in the statistical model to compare the results obtained in the 2 different environments of restrained and group-housed barrows. The WECS affected the neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration. The main diet effect on plasma metabolites was recorded for plasma NEFA, with higher values in WECS diets compared with the CON. The metabolic cage housing affected both hematological (red blood cell count, hemoglobin, hematocrit) and metabolic (protein and its fractions) items, which can be markers of hemodilution. These results indicate the possibility to use this feed in the diet of heavy pigs without negative effects on physiology. The absolute values from metabolic profile of pigs in metabolic cages must be considered with caution for possible comparisons with values obtained on-field in group pens, particularly because a different hemodilution may affect the results.

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