Now showing items 21-40 of 161

    • Risk Factors for Antimicrobial Use on Irish Pig Farms

      O’Neill, Lorcan; Calderón Díaz, Julia Adriana; Rodrigues da Costa, Maria; Oakes, Sinnead; Leonard, Finola C.; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Irish Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; 15 S 676 (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021-09-28)
      The threat to public health posed by antimicrobial resistance in livestock production means that the pig sector is a particular focus for efforts to reduce antimicrobial use (AMU). This study sought to investigate the risk factors for AMU in Irish pig production. Antimicrobial use data were collected from 52 farrow-to-finish farms. The risk factors investigated were farm characteristics and performance, biosecurity practices, prevalence of pluck lesions at slaughter and serological status for four common respiratory pathogens and vaccination and prophylactic AMU practices. Linear regression models were used for quantitative AMU analysis and risk factors for specific AMU practices were investigated using logistic regression. Farms that milled their own feed had lower total AMU (p < 0.001), whereas higher finisher mortality (p = 0.043) and vaccinating for swine influenza (p < 0.001) increased AMU. Farms with higher prevalence of pericarditis (p = 0.037) and lung abscesses (p = 0.046) used more group treatments. Farms with higher prevalence of liver milk spot lesions (p = 0.018) and farms practising prophylactic AMU in piglets (p = 0.03) had higher numbers of individual treatments. Farms practising prophylactic AMU in piglets (p = 0.002) or sows (p = 0.062) had higher use of cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones. This study identified prophylactic use and respiratory disease as the main drivers for AMU in Irish pig production. These findings highlight areas of farm management where interventions may aid in reducing AMU on Irish pig farms.
    • Exploratory study of the effects of intra-uterine growth retardation and neonatal energy supplementation of low birth-weight piglets on their post-weaning cognitive abilities

      Schmitt, Océane; O’Driscoll, Keelin; Baxter, Emma M.; Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13S428 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-02-28)
      The present study investigated the effects of intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR, score 0–3; i.e., “normal” to “severe”) level at birth, and the effects of neonatal energy supplementation (dosed with 2 ml of coconut oil, commercial product or water, or sham-dosed), on post-weaning cognitive abilities of low birth-weight piglets (<1.1 kg). In total, 184 piglets were recruited at weaning (27±0.1 days) for habituation to the test procedures, and were either tested for spatial learning and memory in a T-maze (n=42; 37±0.5 days) or for short-term memory in a spontaneous object recognition task (SORT; n=47; 41±0.3 days). Neonatal supplementation did not affect performances of pigs in the T-maze task or SORT. IUGR3 pigs tended to be faster to enter the reward arm and to obtain the reward in the reversal step of the T-Maze task, suggesting a better learning flexibility, compared to IUGR1 (entry t72.8=2.9, P=0.024; reward t80=3.28, P=0.008) and IUGR2 (entry t70.3=2.5, P=0.068; reward t73.9=2.77, P=0.034) pigs. However, a higher percentage of IUGR1 pigs tended to approach the novel object first (DSCF-value=3.07; P=0.076) and to interact with it more (t40=2.19, P=0.085), relative to IGUR3 pigs. IUGR1 pigs showed a strong preference for the novel object, as they had a greater percentage time difference interacting with the objects when the novel object was presented (t81=−3.41, P=0.013). In conclusion, some low birth-weight piglets are able to perform a spatial task and an object recognition test, but performances in these tests may be modulated by IUGR level.
    • Effect of l-carnitine supplementation and sugar beet pulp inclusion in gilt gestation diets on gilt live weight, lactation feed intake, and offspring growth from birth to slaughter

      Rooney, Hazel B; O’Driscoll, Keelin; O’Doherty, John V; Lawlor, Peadar G; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13S428 (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019-08-14)
      This study evaluated the effects of l-carnitine (CAR) and sugar beet pulp (SBP) inclusion in gilt gestation diets on gilt live weight, cortisol concentration, lactation feed intake, and lifetime growth of progeny. Eighty-four pregnant gilts (Large White × Landrace) were randomly assigned to a treatment at day 38 of gestation until parturition; Control (0% SBP, 0 g CAR), CAR (0.125 g/d CAR), SBP (40% SBP), and SBP plus CAR (40% SBP, 0.125 g/d CAR). Gilts were weighed and back-fat depth was recorded on day 38, day 90, and day 108 of gestation and at weaning. Gilt saliva samples were collected pre-farrowing and fecal consistency was scored from entry to the farrowing room until day 5 post-partum. The number of piglets born (total, live, and stillborn) and individual birth weight was recorded. Piglet blood glucose concentration was measured 24 h post-partum and pigs were weighed on day 1, day 6, day 14, day 26, day 76, day 110, and day 147 of life. Carcass data were collected at slaughter. There was no interaction between CAR and SBP for any variable measured. The SBP-fed gilts were heavier on day 90 and day 108 of gestation (P < 0.05) and lost more weight during lactation (P < 0.05) than control gilts. They also had a greater fecal consistency score (P < 0.01). Total farrowing duration, piglet birth interval, and lactation feed intakes were similar between treatments (P > 0.05). The number of piglets born (total, live, and stillborn) and piglet birth weight was likewise similar between treatments (P > 0.05). Piglets from CAR-fed gilts had lower blood glucose concentrations (P < 0.01), while piglets from SBP-fed gilts had greater blood glucose concentrations (P < 0.01). Piglets from CAR gilts had a lower average daily gain between day 1 and day 6 (P < 0.05) and day 14 and day 26 post-partum (P < 0.05) compared to piglets from control gilts. However, CAR gilts weaned a greater number of pigs (P = 0.07). Live weight and carcass weight at slaughter were heavier for pigs from CAR gilts (P < 0.05) and from SBP gilts (P < 0.05). Pigs from CAR gilts (P < 0.01) and SBP gilts (P < 0.05) had increased carcass muscle depth. In conclusion, no benefit was found from the combined feeding of CAR and SBP. Fed separately, CAR increased the live weight, carcass weight, and muscle depth of progeny at slaughter. Feeding a high SBP diet increased fecal consistency in gilts pre-farrowing and increased live weight and carcass muscle depth of progeny.
    • Influence of sows’ parity on performance and humoral immune response of the offspring

      Piñeiro, Carlos; Manso, Alberto; Manzanilla, Edgar G.; Morales, Joaquin; Regional Spanish Government in Castilla-León; Spanish Ministry of Industry; exp ADE 04/05/SG/0009; exp FIT-010000-2006-119 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-02-14)
      Background Primiparous sows (PP) have higher nutrient requirements, fewer piglets born with lower birth weight and growth performance than multiparous sows (MP). The aim of the current study was to investigate the effect of parity of sow (PP or MP) on the growth performance and humoral immune response of piglets. A total of 10 PP and 10 MP (3rd to 5th parity) sows were used. There were 4 treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement, with piglets from PP sows suckled by PP or MP sows, and piglets from MP sows suckled by PP or MP sows. Average daily gain (ADG) of piglets during the lactation period, and ADG, average daily feed intake (ADFI) and gain:feed ratio (G:F) from weaning to 144 days of age were controlled, and concentrations of immunoglobulins G (IgG) and major acute phase protein (Pig-MAP) were measured as markers of humoral immune response throughout the study. Results Total ADG was higher in piglets born from MP than in those born from PP (669 vs. 605 g/day; standard error of the mean (SEM) = 15.5, n = 5; P = 0.001) and in piglets suckled by MP than in piglets suckled by PP (655 vs. 620 g/day; SEM = 15.5, n = 5, P = 0.037). Total ADFI was higher for pigs born from MP than for those born from PP (1592 vs. 1438 g/d, SEM = 42.2, n = 5, P < 0.001). Total G:F tended to be higher for pigs suckled by MP than for those suckled by PP (0.43 vs. 0.41, SEM = 0.006, n = 5, P = 0.076). At weaning, IgG serum concentration was higher (30.0 vs. 17.8 mg/mL, SEM = 4.98, n = 15, P = 0.013) in pigs suckled by MP than in piglets suckled by PP. However, IgG concentrations were higher for pigs born from PP than for pigs born from MP on days 116 (P < 0.001) and 144 (P = 0.088). Pig-MAP tended to be lower in pigs suckled by MP than in pigs suckled by PP on days 40 and 60 of age (P < 0.10). Conclusions The research indicates that the growth performance and humoral immune response of the offspring of PP is improved by cross-fostering with MP. These results open the possibility of an interesting strategy for improving the growth of litters from PP, that is easier to apply than current programs based on parity segregation, which implies a separate building site to house gilts, first parity sows and their offspring.
    • Farmer Perceptions of Pig Aggression Compared to Animal-Based Measures of Fight Outcome

      Peden, Rachel S. E.; Camerlink, Irene; Boyle, Laura A.; Akaichi, Faical; Turner, Simon P.; Scotland’s Rural College (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2019-01-10)
      Several animal welfare issues persist in practice despite extensive research which has been linked to the unwillingness of stakeholders to make changes. For example, most farmers do not perceive pig aggression to be a problem that requires action despite the fact that stress and injuries are common, and that several solutions exist. Frequent exposure to animal suffering could affect farmer responses to distressed animals. This study investigated for the first time whether this occurs, using pig aggression as a focus. Using video clips, 90 pig farmers judged the severity of aggression, level of pig exhaustion and the strength of their own emotional response. Their judgments were compared to objective measures of severity (pigs’ skin lesions and blood lactate), and against control groups with similar pig experience (10 pig veterinarians) and without experience (26 agricultural students; 24 animal science students). Famers did not show desensitization to aggression. However, all groups underestimated the outcome of aggression when they did not see the fight occurring as compared to witnessing a fight in progress. We suggest that farmers be provided with evidence of the economic and welfare impact of aggression as indicated by lesions and that they be advised to score lesions on affected animals.
    • Feed Restriction Modifies Intestinal Microbiota-Host Mucosal Networking in Chickens Divergent in Residual Feed Intake

      Metzler-Zebeli, Barbara U.; Siegerstetter, Sina-Catherine; Magowan, Elizabeth; Lawlor, Peadar G.; Petri, Renée M.; O´Connell, Niamh E.; Zebeli, Qendrim; European Union; 311794 (American Society for Microbiology, 2019-02-26)
      Differences in chickens’ feed intake may be the underlying factor influencing feed-efficiency (FE)-associated variation in intestinal microbiota and physiology. In chickens eating the same amount of feed, quantitative feed restriction may create similar intestinal conditions and help clarify this cause-and-effect relationship. This study investigated the effect of ad libitum versus restrictive feeding (85% of ad libitum) on ileal and cecal microbiota, concentrations of short-chain fatty acids, visceral organ size, intestinal morphology, permeability, and expression of genes related to nutrient uptake, barrier function, and innate immune response in broiler chickens with divergent residual feed intake (RFI; metric for FE). On day 30 posthatch, 28 low-RFI (good FE) and 29 high-RFI (poor FE) chickens across both feedinglevel groups (n 112) were selected. Supervised multigroup data integration and relevance network analyses showed that especially Lactobacillus (negative) in ileal digesta, Turicibacter (positive) in cecal digesta, and Enterobacteriaceae (positive) in both intestinal segments depended on chicken’s feed intake, whereas the level of Anaerotruncus in cecal digesta was most discriminative for high RFI. Moreover, shallower crypts and fewer goblet cells in ceca indicated host-related energy-saving mechanisms with low RFI, whereas greater tissue resistance suggested a stronger jejunal barrier function in low-RFI chickens. Values corresponding to feed intake level RFI interactions indicated larger pancreas and lower levels of ileal and cecal short-chain fatty acids in restrictively fed high-RFI chickens than in the other 3 groups, suggesting host physiological adaptations to support greater energy and nutrient needs of high-RFI chickens compensating for the restricted feeding.
    • The effect of group composition and mineral supplementation during rearing on the behavior and welfare of replacement gilts

      Hartnett, Phoebe; Boyle, Laura; O’Driscoll, Keelin (Oxford University Press, 2020-01-08)
      Sow longevity supported by good health and reproductive performance is necessary to optimize sow lifetime performance. In some countries, replacement gilts are reared with finisher pigs destined for slaughter, so they are exposed to sexual and aggressive behaviors performed by males. This is associated with stress and injury. Moreover, diets formulated for finishers are not designed to meet the needs of replacement gilts and may not supply the necessary minerals to promote limb health, optimal reproduction, and, thus, sow longevity. In this 2 × 2 factorial design experiment with 384 animals (32 pens [12 animals per pen]), we investigated the effect of female-only (FEM) or mixed-sex (MIX) rearing, with (SUPP) or without (CON) supplementary minerals (copper, zinc, and manganese) on locomotion, salivary cortisol levels, behavior, body lesions (BL), and hoof health of gilts. The experimental period began at transfer to the finisher stage (day 81.3 ± 0.5 of age; day 0) until breeding age (day 196 ± 0.5 of age; day 115). Locomotion was scored (0–5) biweekly from day 0 until slaughter day 67 or breeding age day 115 for the remaining gilts. Saliva samples were taken monthly from four focal gilts per pen. All counts of aggressive, harmful, sexual, and play behavior were recorded by direct observation 1 d biweekly (5- × 5-min observations/pen/d). BL scores were recorded on focal pigs biweekly from day 1 until day 99 on the back, neck, shoulder, flank, and hind quarter on each side of the body. Hind hooves were scored for eight disorders (heel erosion [HE], heel sole separation [HSS], and white line separation [WLS], dew claw length and dew claw cracks, toe length and both vertical and horizontal toe cracks) by severity, and a total hoof lesion score was calculated by summing individual scores. General linear mixed models were used to analyze cortisol, behavior, BL, and total hoof scores. Generalized linear mixed models were used for locomotion, bursitis and individual hoof disorders. There was less aggression (P < 0.05) and sexual behavior in the FEM compared to the MIX groups with more play behavior in MIX compared to FEM groups (P < 0.01). Gilts in the MIX groups had higher BL scores than gilts in the FEM groups (P < 0.001). Total hoof scores were higher in MIX (8.01 ± 0.15) than FEM (7.70 ± 0.12; P < 0.02) gilts. CON diet gilts had higher HE scores than SUPP gilts (P < 0.05). HSS (P < 0.05) and WLS (P < 0.05) scores were higher in MIX than FEM gilts. Rearing gilts in FEM groups had benefits for hoof health likely mediated through lower levels of activity due to male absence, and minerals helped reduce HE.
    • RNA-Seq of Liver From Pigs Divergent in Feed Efficiency Highlights Shifts in Macronutrient Metabolism, Hepatic Growth and Immune Response

      Horodyska, Justyna; Hamill, Ruth M.; Reyer, Henry; Trakooljul, Nares; Lawlor, Peadar G.; McCormack, Ursula M.; Wimmers, Klaus; European Union Seventh Framework Programme; 311794 (Frontiers Media SA, 2019-02-19)
      Liver is a metabolically complex organ that influences nutrient partitioning and potentially modulates the efficiency of converting energy acquired from macronutrients ingestion into a muscle and/or adipose tissue (referred to as feed efficiency, FE). The objective of this study was to sequence the hepatic tissue transcriptome of closely related but differently feed efficient pigs (n = 16) and identify relevant biological processes that underpin the differences in liver phenotype between FE groups. Liver weight did not significantly differ between the FE groups, however, blood parameters showed that total protein, glucose, cholesterol and percentage of lymphocytes were significantly greater in high-FE pigs. Ontology analysis revealed carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism to be significantly enriched with differentially expressed genes. In particular, high-FE pigs exhibited gene expression patterns suggesting improved absorption of carbohydrates and cholesterol as well as enhanced reverse cholesterol transport. Furthermore, the inferred decrease in bile acid synthesis in high-FE pigs may contribute to the observed greater levels of serum glucose, which can be then delivered to cells and utilized for growth and maintenance. Gene ontology analysis also suggested that livers of more efficient pigs may be characterized by higher protein turnover and increased epithelial cell differentiation, whereby an enhanced quantity of invariant natural killer T-cells and viability of natural killer cells could induce a quicker and more effective hepatic response to inflammatory stimuli. Our findings suggest that this prompt hepatic response to inflammation in high-FE group may contribute to the more efficient utilization of nutrients for growth in these animals.
    • Influence of the Intestinal Microbiota on Colonization Resistance to Salmonella and the Shedding Pattern of Naturally Exposed Pigs

      Argüello, Héctor; Estellé, Jordi; Leonard, Finola C.; Crispie, Fiona; Cotter, Paul D.; O’Sullivan, Orla; Lynch, Helen; Walia, Kavita; Duffy, Geraldine; Lawlor, Peadar G.; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2019-04-30)
      Salmonella colonization and infection in production animals such as pigs are a cause for concern from a public health perspective. Variations in susceptibility to natural infection may be influenced by the intestinal microbiota. Using 16S rRNA compositional sequencing, we characterized the fecal microbiome of 15 weaned pigs naturally infected with Salmonella at 18, 33, and 45 days postweaning. Dissimilarities in microbiota composition were analyzed in relation to Salmonella infection status (infected, not infected), serological status, and shedding pattern (nonshedders, single-point shedders, intermittent-persistent shedders). Global microbiota composition was associated with the infection outcome based on serological analysis. Greater richness within the microbiota postweaning was linked to pigs being seronegative at the end of the study at 11 weeks of age. Members of the Clostridia, such as Blautia, Roseburia, and Anaerovibrio, were more abundant and part of the core microbiome in nonshedder pigs. Cellulolytic microbiota (Ruminococcus and Prevotella) were also more abundant in noninfected pigs during the weaning and growing stages. Microbial profiling also revealed that infected pigs had a higher abundance of Lactobacillus and Oscillospira, the latter also being part of the core microbiome of intermittent-persistent shedders. These findings suggest that a lack of microbiome maturation and greater proportions of microorganisms associated with suckling increase susceptibility to infection. In addition, the persistence of Salmonella shedding may be associated with an enrichment of pathobionts such as Anaerobiospirillum. Overall, these results suggest that there may be merit in manipulating certain taxa within the porcine intestinal microbial community to increase disease resistance against Salmonella in pigs.
    • Fecal Microbiota Transplant from Highly Feed-Efficient Donors Shows Little Effect on Age-Related Changes in Feed-Efficiency-Associated Fecal Microbiota from Chickens

      Siegerstetter, Sina-Catherine; Petri, Renée M.; Magowan, Elizabeth; Lawlor, Peadar G.; Zebeli, Qendrim; O'Connell, Niamh E.; Metzler-Zebeli, Barbara U.; European Union; 311794 (American Society for Microbiology, 2018-01-15)
      Chickens with good or poor feed efficiency (FE) have been shown to differ in their intestinal microbiota composition. This study investigated differences in the fecal bacterial community of highly and poorly feed-efficient chickens at 16 and 29 days posthatch (dph) and evaluated whether a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) from feed-efficient donors early in life can affect the fecal microbiota in chickens at 16 and 29 dph and chicken FE and nutrient retention at 4 weeks of age. A total of 110 chickens were inoculated with a FMT or a control transplant (CT) on dph 1, 6, and 9 and ranked according to residual feed intake (RFI; the metric for FE) on 30 dph. Fifty-six chickens across both inoculation groups were selected as the extremes in RFI (29 low, 27 high). RFI-related fecal bacterial profiles were discernible at 16 and 29 dph. In particular, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus crispatus, and Anaerobacterium operational taxonomic units were associated with low RFI (good FE). Multiple administrations of the FMT only slightly changed the fecal bacterial composition, which was supported by weighted UniFrac analysis, showing similar bacterial communities in the feces of both inoculation groups at 16 and 29 dph. Moreover, the FMT did not change the RFI and nutrient retention of highly and poorly feedefficient recipients, whereas it tended to increase feed intake and body weight gain in female chickens. This finding suggests that host- and environment-related factors may more strongly affect chicken fecal microbiota and FE than the FMT.
    • Feed Restriction Modulates the Fecal Microbiota Composition, Nutrient Retention, and Feed Efficiency in Chickens Divergent in Residual Feed Intake

      Siegerstetter, Sina-Catherine; Petri, Renée M.; Magowan, Elizabeth; Lawlor, Peadar G.; Zebeli, Qendrim; O'Connell, Niamh E.; Metzler-Zebeli, Barbara U.; European Union; 311794 (Frontiers Media SA, 2018-11-19)
      There is a great interest to understand the impact of the gut microbiota on host’s nutrient use and FE in chicken production. Both chicken’s feed intake and gut bacterial microbiota differ between high and low-feed efficient chickens. To evaluate the impact of the feed intake level on the feed efficiency (FE)-associated variation in the chicken intestinal microbiota, differently feed efficient chickens need to eat the same amount of feed, which can be achieved by feeding chickens restrictively. Therefore, we investigated the effect of restrictive vs. ad libitum feeding on the fecal microbiome at 16 and 29 days posthatch (dph), FE and nutrient retention in chickens of low and high residual feed intake (RFI; metric for FE). Restrictively fed chickens were provided the same amount of feed which corresponded to 85% of the ad libitum fed group from 9 dph. FE was determined for the period between 9 and 30 dph and feces for nutrient retention were collected on 31 to 32 dph. From the 112 chickens (n = 56 fed ad libitum, and n = 56 fed restrictively), 14 low RFI and 15 high RFI ad libitum fed chickens, and 14 low RFI (n = 7 per sex) and 14 high RFI restrictively fed chickens were selected as the extremes in RFI and were retrospectively chosen for data analysis. Bray-Curtis dissimilarity matrices showed significant separation between time points, and feeding level groups at 29 dph for the fecal bacterial communities. Relevance networking indicated positive associations between Acinetobacter and feed intake at 16 dph, whereas at 29 dph Escherichia/Shigella and Turicibacter positively and Lactobacillus negatively correlated to chicken’s feed intake. Enterobacteriaceae was indicative for low RFI at 16 dph, whereas Acinetobacter was linked to high RFI across time points. However, restrictive feeding-associated changes in the fecal microbiota were not similar in low and high RFI chickens, which may have been related to the higher nutrient retention and thus lower fecal nutrient availability in restrictively fed high RFI chickens. This may also explain the decreased RFI value in restrictively fed high RFI chickens indicating improved FE, with a stronger effect in females.
    • Surveillance Data Highlights Feed Form, Biosecurity, and Disease Control as Significant Factors Associated with Salmonella Infection on Farrow-to-Finish Pig Farms

      Argüello, Hector; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Lynch, Helen; Walia, Kavita; Leonard, Finola C.; Egan, John; Duffy, Geraldine; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Lawlor, Peadar G.; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2018-02-15)
      Among the zoonotic pathogens affecting pigs, Salmonella stands out due to the high number of human cases linked to pork consumption. In the last two decades many countries have put considerable effort into the control of the infection by surveillance and control strategies on farm. Despite this effort, many herds still have a high Salmonella prevalence and they require guidance to address this problem. The present study, using the serological surveillance data of finishing pigs from the Irish National pig Salmonella Control Programme, aimed to highlight factors associated with increased risk or that might mitigate Salmonella occurrence on farm. A questionnaire with 33 questions regarding herd characteristics, management, feeding, biosecurity, and health was completed for 61 individual herds. After the multivariate analysis by linear regression, nine variables were retained in the final model and linked to herd seroprevalence. Home produced-feed linked to the use of meal showed an eight points reduction in Salmonella prevalence compared to purchased feed (p = 0.042). Different biosecurity measures were associated to lower seroprevalence. Changing of footwear from outside to inside the farm decreased seroprevalence nearly 20 units (p = 0.014) and policies not permitting access to the farmyard to feed trucks (p = 0.048) or avoiding the presence of cats on the farm (p = 0.05) were estimated in 10 units less of seroprevalence. In contrast, the lack of perimeter fence increased the chance to have higher seroprevalence in five units (p = 0.05). Finally, intestinal diseases such as swine dysentery (p = 0.044) and E. coli diarrhea (p = 0.1) were estimated to increase Salmonella prevalence in ∼20 and 10 units, respectively, demonstrating the importance of controlling other enteric pathogens in an on-farm Salmonella control programme. These results show the usefulness of surveillance data to improve on-farm control and confirm that Salmonella infection in pigs is multi-factorial and the approach to its control should be multifaceted.
    • Surgical castration with pain relief affects the health and productive performance of pigs in the suckling period

      Morales, Joaquin; Dereu, Andre; Manso, Alberto; de Frutos, Laura; Piñeiro, Carlos; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Wuyts, Niels; Zoetis Inc. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017-09-06)
      Background Surgical castration is still practiced in many EU countries to avoid undesirable aggressive behavior and boar taint in male pigs. However, evidence shows that castration is painful and has a detrimental influence on pig health. This study investigated the clinical and productive effects of surgical castration in the suckling period. A total of 3696 male pigs, 3 to 6 days old, comprising of 721 litters from two different farms were included in the study. Within each litter, half of the males were kept as intact males (IM) and half were surgically castrated (CM). Surgical castration was conducted by a trained farmer. Average daily gain (ADG), body weight at weaning (BWW), percentage of pre-weaning mortality (PWM) and antibiotic usage were measured. Pig major acute phase protein (PigMAP) serum concentrations were analyzed prior to castration, and on days 1 and 10 after castration. Productive performance data were analyzed using a linear mixed model. Mortality and percentage of pigs treated with antibiotics were analyzed using the Fisher’s exact test. Results No overall differences in BWW and ADG were observed between the two groups. However, differences were observed when the same effects were analyzed in the 25% lightest, 50% medium and 25% heaviest pigs at birth. PWM was higher in CM than in IM groups (6.3% vs 3.6%; p < 0.001), especially in the light (12.2% vs 6.2%; p = 0.02) and in the medium (5.5% vs 2.7%; p = 0.04) weight groups. In the heaviest pigs group PWM was not affected by castration, but IM tended to show higher ADG (p = 0.06) and showed higher BWW (8.0 kg vs 7.8 kg; p = 0.05) than CM. There were no differences in percentage of pigs treated with antibiotics between the two groups (5.8% vs 5.8%; p = 0.98) in this study. Furthermore, PigMAP was increased in CM the day after castration (0.944 mg/ml vs 0.847 mg/ml; p = 0.025), but there was no difference between CM and IM groups at day 10. Conclusions Surgical castration has a negative impact on production in the suckling period because it causes an increase in PWM, especially in pigs in the three lower quartiles for body weight, and negatively affects the BWW in pigs born in the highest quartile for body weight.
    • Blood and faecal biomarkers to assess dietary energy, protein and amino acid efficiency of utilization by growing and finishing pigs

      Camp Montoro, Jordi; Solà-Oriol, David; Muns, Ramon; Gasa, Josep; Llanes, Núria; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Scheme; 0415 (Biomed Central, 2022-07-04)
      Background Diet evaluation and optimization is a slow and expensive process and it is not possible to do it at a farm level. This study aimed to use the blood serum metabolite (BSM) and faecal volatile fatty acid (VFA) profiles as potential biomarkers to identify changes in protein, amino acid and energy dietary content in growing and finishing pig diets at farm level. Results Two studies were conducted. The first study (S1) included 20 pens of 11 pigs (87.0 ± 4.10 kg; 18 weeks old) assigned to 5 diets: control (C1), high or low crude protein (HP1 and LP1, respectively), and high or low net energy (HE1 and LE1, respectively). The second study (S2) included 28 pens of 11 pigs (41.3 ± 2.60 kg; 12 weeks old) assigned to 7 diets: control (C2), high or low crude protein (HP2 and LP2, respectively), high or low amino acid (HA2 and LA2, respectively), and high or low net energy (HE2 and LE2, respectively). Pigs were followed for 10 (S1) and 20 (S2) days, and blood and faecal samples were collected at 20 (S1) and 14 (S2) weeks of age. Data were analysed using general linear models and receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Urea nitrogen showed the best results as a biomarker. Urea nitrogen was higher in pigs fed high protein diets, HP1 (13.6 ± 0.95 mg/dL) and HP2 (11.6 ± 0.61), compared to those fed low protein diets, LP1 (6.0 ± 0.95) and LP2 (5.2 ± 0.61; P < 0.001), showing good discrimination ability (Area under the curve (AUC) = 98.4 and 100%, respectively). These differences were not observed between diets LA2 (6.5 ± 0.61) and HA2 (8.7 ± 0.61; P > 0.05; AUC = 71.9%), which were formulated based on the ideal protein profile but with no excess of protein. Creatinine, triglycerides, branched-chain fatty acids, albumin, propionic acid, and cholesterol showed differences between at least 2 diets but only in one of the studies. Conclusions Urea nitrogen showed high accuracy to detect excess of crude protein in growing and finishing pig diets. Other biomarkers like BCFA showed promising results and need to be further studied.
    • Antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli isolated from on-farm and conventional hatching broiler farms in Ireland

      Byrne, Noelle; O’Neill, Lorcan; Calderon Diaz, Julia; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Vale, Ana P.; Leonard, Finola C.; Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine; 15 S 676 (Biomed Central, 2022-04-22)
      Background On-farm hatching (OH) systems are becoming more common in broiler production. Hatching conditions differ from conventional farms as OH chicks avoid exposure to handling, transport, post-hatch water and feed deprivation. In contrast, chicks in conventional hatching conditions (CH) are exposed to standard hatchery procedures and transported post hatching. The objectives of this pilot study were to investigate the prevalence and frequency of Escherichia coli resistant to antimicrobials, including presumptive ESBL/AmpC-producing E. coli, isolated from environmental and faecal samples from OH versus CH hatching systems, and to investigate the presence of ESBL/AmpC-producing encoding genes. Results Environmental samples were collected from one flock in 10 poultry farms (5 OH farms, 5 CH farms) on day 0 post disinfection of the facilities to assess hygiene standards. On D10 and D21 post egg/chick arrival onto the farm, samples of faeces, boot swabs and water drinker lines were collected. E. coli were isolated on MacConkey agar (MC) and MacConkey supplemented with cefotaxime (MC+). Few E. coli were detected on D0. However, on D10 and D21 E. coli isolates were recovered from faeces and boot swabs. Water samples had minimal contamination. In this study, 100% of cefotaxime resistant E. coli isolates (n=33) detected on selective media and 44% of E. coli isolates (84/192) detected on nonselective media were multidrug resistant (MDR). The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genotype for the 15 ESBL/AmpC producing isolates was determined using multiplex PCR. Six of these were selected for Sanger sequencing of which two were positive for blaCMY-2, two for blaTEM-1 and two were positive for both genes. Conclusions There was no difference in E. coli isolation rates or prevalence of AMR found between the OH versus CH systems, suggesting that the OH system may not be an additional risk of resistant E. coli dissemination to broilers compared to the CH systems. The frequency of β-lactam resistant E. coli in boot swab and faeces samples across both OH (24/33 (73%)) and CH (9/33 (27%)) systems may indicate that hatcheries could be a reservoir and major contributor to the transmission of AMR bacteria to flocks after entry to the rearing farms.
    • Animal welfare research – progress to date and future prospects

      Boyle, Laura A; Conneely, M.; Kennedy, Emer; O’Connell, N.; O'Driscoll, Keelin; Earley, Bernadette (Teagasc, 2022-02-26)
      RECORDABSTRACTARTICLE Animal welfare research – progress to date and future prospects OTHER Author(s): L. Boyle 1 , M. Conneely 1 , E. Kennedy 1 , N. O’Connell 2 , K. O’Driscoll 1 , B. Earley 3 , Publication date (Electronic): 26 February 2022 Journal: Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research Publisher: Compuscript Keywords: Animal welfare, beef, dairy, pig, poultry, welfare assessment Abstract The welfare status of an animal is dependent on its ability to cope and exist in harmony with its environment, such that good physical and psychological health is maintained. Improving animal welfare is an increasingly important aspect of livestock production systems due, in a large extent, to increased consumer concerns about animal production practices. Animal welfare is an integrated part of quality assurance programmes for sustainable animal production, considering that welfare, health, management, economy, consumer acceptance and environmental impact are interdependent. The major welfare concerns in the livestock industry in recent years relate to the rearing and management of dairy calves, the welfare of the dairy cow, effect of husbandry management procedures on the welfare of beef cattle, rearing of sows in gestation and farrowing crates, and the broiler (meat) chicken sector. The paper will focus on scientific research underpinning these welfare concerns, with a particular focus on research conducted on the island of Ireland.
    • An overview of Irish pig production, research and knowledge transfer since 1960

      Boyle, Laura A.; Carroll, C.; Clarke, L.; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Gardiner, G.E.; McCutcheon, G.; McCrum, E.; McKeon, M.; Lawlor, Peadar; Lynch, B.; et al. (Teagasc, 2022-02-09)
      Pig production in Ireland has gone through enormous changes during the past 60 yr, from pigs being primarily produced as a sideline on dairy farms, to an industry with one of the highest average herd sizes in Europe. This happened in part due to external pressure on the industry, whereby economies of scale were needed to compete with pigs produced in other countries, but largely due to the instigation of national programmes to support the pig industry through research, education and knowledge transfer. These efforts helped producers to take advantage of genetic improvements and monitor their own performance over time, as well as allowing for benchmarking of the national herd against other countries. The research programme initiated in the 1960s continues to grow and expand, providing the pig industry with internationally renowned data and knowledge in the areas of nutrition, animal welfare, the environment and energy use. Recent initiatives such as the establishment of the Teagasc and Irish Farmers Association Pig Joint Programme, and a Pig Health Check section in Animal Health Ireland, will help to promote further cross-collaboration between stakeholders in the pig industry, and enable it to rise to the challenges of the years ahead.
    • Why do Irish pig farmers use medications? Barriers for effective reduction of antimicrobials in Irish pig production

      Diana, Alessia; Snijders, Sylvia; Rieple, Alison; Boyle, Laura A (Biomed Central, 2021-04-30)
      Abstract Background In addressing the threat of antimicrobial resistance, it is critical to understand the barriers to the uptake of strategies for the reduction of antimicrobial use (AMU) in the pig industry. In several EU countries, factors such as education level, habits and social pressures are recognised as affecting farmers’ decision-making process in relation to AMU. However, there is a lack of information on the Irish scenario. The aim of this study was to investigate pig farmers’ perspectives and their behaviour towards AMU to identify potential barriers to effectively reduce AMU in Irish pig production. We conducted face-to-face semi-structured interviews with 30 pig farmers, 5 pig veterinarians and 4 focus groups of pig farm personnel. We employed qualitative analyses to explore the objective of the study. Results Qualitative analysis revealed six convergent themes as potential barriers: perceptions about the need for AMU on farm, concept of animal welfare and associated management practices, legislation, culture, economics and standards of communication/type of advice-network. Overall, pig farmers believed that there is poor communication between stakeholders (i.e. farmers, vets and advisors) and a lack of reliable people to approach for advice. They considered themselves as operating responsibly in terms of AMU compared to their national and international colleagues and expressed the importance of a so-called ‘Irish solution’ to the problem of AMU because it was associated with what ‘has always been done’ and was therefore considered reliable and safe. Conclusions Barriers and challenges were in line with those identified in other EU countries highlighting similarities in behavioural and attitudinal patterns among pig farmers. Overall, farmers appeared to be more likely to rely on previous experiences or to wait for an imposed change (e.g. legislation) instead of taking personal action. Thus, considerable behavioural and attitudinal changes are needed to adopt a more responsible AMU in Irish pig production and to develop effective intervention strategies.
    • Effect of space allowance and mixing on growth performance and body lesions of grower-finisher pigs in pens with a single wet-dry feeder

      Camp Montoro, Jordi; Boyle, Laura A; Solà-Oriol, David; Muns, Ramon; Gasa, Josep; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme; 0415 (Biomed Central, 2021-01-06)
      Background Low space allowance (SA) and mixing may result in reduced growth performance (GP) and animal welfare issues because of adverse social behaviours directed to pen mates. This could be exacerbated in pens with single space feeders owing to social facilitation of feeding behaviour. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of SA and mixing on GP and body lesions (BL) in pens with one single space wet-dry feeder. Results Two experiments were conducted on grower-finisher pigs from 10 to 21 weeks of age. In Exp1, pigs (N = 216) were assigned to three SA; 0.96 m2/pig (n = 6 pens; 10 pigs/pen; SA96), 0.84 m2/pig (n = 6; 12 pigs/pen; SA84) and 0.72 m2/pig (n = 6; 14 pigs/pen; SA72), in a randomized design. In Exp2, pigs (N = 230) were used in a 2 × 2 factorial randomized design considering SA and mixing as treatments. Pigs were assigned to two SA; 0.96 m2/pig (n = 10 pens; 10 pigs/pen; SA96) and 0.78 m2/pig (n = 10; 13 pigs/pen; SA78) and were either mixed or not at the entry to the finishing facility. GP was not affected by SA (P > 0.05) in either experiment. In Exp2, non-mixed pigs were 5.4 kg heavier (P <  0.001), gained 74 g more per day (P = 0.004), consumed 101.8 g more of feed per day (P = 0.007) and tended to have higher feed efficiency (P = 0.079) than mixed pigs from 11 to 21 weeks of age. Number of BL was affected by SA in both experiments. In Exp1, SA72 pigs had 74.4 and 97.4% more BL than SA96 and SA84 pigs at 20 weeks of age respectively (P <  0.01). In Exp2, SA78 pigs had 48.6, 43.6 and 101.3% more BL than SA96 pigs at 12, 16 and 21 weeks of age respectively (P <  0.05). Mixing did not affect the number of BL from 12 to 21 weeks of age in Exp2 (P > 0.05). Conclusion Mixing had a considerable effect on growth performance thus, strategies to avoid or mitigate mixing should be considered. Although space allowance had no effect on growth performance, high number of body lesions in the lower space allowance indicates that space allowances equal or below 0.78 m2/pig are detrimental to the welfare of pigs despite following the EU legislation.
    • Identifying challenges to manage body weight variation in pig farms implementing all-in-all-out management practices and their possible implications for animal health: a case study

      Rodrigues da Costa, Maria; García Manzanilla, Edgar; Diana, Alessia; van Staaveren, Nienke; Torres-Pitarch, Alberto; Boyle, Laura A; Calderón Díaz, Julia A; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 14/S/832; et al. (Biomed Central, 2021-01-11)
      Background Managing body weight (BW) variation is a challenge in farrow-to-finish farms implementing all-in/all-out (AIAO) production systems due to the lack of “off-site” facilities to segregate slow growing pigs (SGP). This case study investigated different approaches to managing BW variation in a farrow-to-finish commercial pig farm with a self-declared AIAO management and the possible implications for animal health. Case presentation A total of 1096 pigs (1047 pigs born within 1 week plus 49 pigs born 1 week later) were tracked until slaughter as they moved through the production stages. Piglets were individually tagged at birth and their location on the farm was recorded on a weekly basis. In total, 10.3% of pigs died during lactation. Four main cohorts of pigs were created at weaning and retrospectively identified: cohort 1 = pigs weaned at 21 days (4.5%); cohort 2 = pigs weaned at 28 days (81.0%), which was sub-divided at the end of the first nursery stage into sub-cohort 2a = pigs split at 3 weeks post-weaning (29.7%); sub-cohort 2b = pigs split at 3 weeks post-weaning from cohort 2a and split again 5 weeks post-weaning (35.5%) and sub-cohort 2c = remaining smaller size pigs from cohort 2b (10.9%); cohort 3 = pigs weaned at 35 days (2.7%) and cohort 4 = pigs weaned at 49 days (1.5%) that were later mixed with SPG, delayed pigs from other cohorts and sick/injured pigs that recovered. Four strategies to manage BW variation were identified: i) earlier weaning (cohort 1); ii) delayed weaning of SGP (cohort 3 and 4); iii) re-grading pens by BW (sub-cohorts 2a, 2b and 2c) and, iv) delayed movement of SGP to the next production stage (several pigs from all cohorts). A higher percentage of delayed pigs presented pericarditis, pleurisy and enzootic pneumonia like lesions at slaughter compared with pigs under other strategies. Conclusion A variety of management practices were implemented to minimise BW variation during the production cycle. However, several cohorts of pigs were created disrupting AIAO management. Earlier weaning should only be practiced under specific circumstances where optimal animal health and welfare are guaranteed. Delayed weaning of SGP and delaying pigs to move to the next production stage could negatively affect animal health and should be avoided.