Date of Award
Master of Science
George Merriman, Jim O'Neal
Data were collected on fifty-two sows and litters over a two trial farrowing period, April and July, 1974, at The University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, Knoxville, Tennessee, to determine the effect of pasture versus confinement raising of baby pigs. These two systems were compared as they are actually used in the hog industry today. At day 14, post farrowing, one half of the sows and litters were moved to the field on the pasture treatment and the sows and litters on the confinement treatment remained in the farrowing crates. The litters remained in their respective locations until the pigs were weaned at eight weeks of age at which time they were moved to a pole type feeding barn and fed until they reached 12 weeks of age. In Trial I, April farrowing, there was no significant difference in average daily gain or weight at 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 weeks of age. However, in each weighing period, the pasture raised pigs outgained and outweighed the confinement raised pigs. In Trial II, July farrowing, the pasture raised pigs significantly (P<.001) outweighed the confine-ment reared pigs at 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 weeks of age and outgained them from 2 to 8 (.76 vs .54) and 2 to 12 weeks (1.01 vs .79). Within the individual weekly weighings from 8 to 12 weeks, the average daily gains between the two treatments became less significant with time from a level of significance of P<.01 at 9 weeks to a level of non-significance at 12 weeks. In a comparison of the sow and creep feed consumed per pig from 2 to 8 weeks and feed required per pound of gain from 8 to 12 weeks, there was no significant difference between either treatment in each trial. In each trial, there was no significant difference in sow weight at 8 weeks, post farrowing, or feed consumed per sow from 2 to 8 weeks due to treatment. However in Trial II, the sows'on the confinement treatment significantly (P<.05) outgained the sows on pasture from 2 to 8 weeks. There was a significant difference (P<.C)01) in feed consumed per sow in both trials due to litter size with the sows having larger litters consuming more feed. The feed efficiencies from 8 to 12 weeks of the baby pigs in this experiment were combined to determine the most profitable weight range for marketing feeder pigs. Actual wholesale and retail feed costs and feeder pig prices were obtained at the time these pigs would have been sold as feeder pigs. Based on the additional cost and income to carry a feeder pig to increased weights, it was determined that a 56-60 pound pig is the most profitable weight range to market.
Ligon, William Dan, "Comparison of pasture versus confinement raising of baby pigs. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1975.