Department of Animal Science
Mimeograph Series No. 63-6
FEEDER AND FLOOR SPACE STUDIES
WITH GROWING-FINISHING SWINE
G. E. Combs and H. D. Wallace 1/
Management practices associated with the confinement feeding of
growing-finishing swine have in general received inadequate consideration.
This is particularly true with floor space and feeder space requirements
of market swine raised in a concrete-floor facility that was designed for
large volume production.
Previous tests at Illinois (1960) and California (1961) have demon-
strated that growing-finishing pigs respond to variations in floor and feeder
The need for more definite information on these important problems
prompted the initiation of the studies reported herein.
Three separate experiments were conducted with crossbred pigs fed
fortified corn-soybean meal rations. All pigs were raised in concrete-
floor pens and fed ad libitum from Webber-French self-feeders. The feeder
holes measured approximately 9" x 9". Water was supplied by automatic
waterers and misting devices were used as needed for comfort of the animals.
To determine if bedding enhanced performance during the winter months,
wood shavings were added to one-half the treatment groups in experiment 2.
The treatments for the three experiments were as follows:
To 125 Ib. 126 lb. to
I/ Combs and Wallace, Associate Animal Nutritioi
respectively, Department of Animal Science.
Collins and L. S. Taylor, Swine Herdsmen, is
Experiment 2 Floor Space
Lot I 16 plus bedding
Lot 2 8 without bedding
Lot 3 8 plus bedding
Lot 4 16 without bedding
Experiment 3 Floor Space Piqs/feeder hole
(so. ft./piq) To 125 Ib. 126 lb. to
Lot I 16 6.6 5
Lot 2 8 6.6 5
Lot 3 .8 3.3 2.5
Lot 4 16 3.3 2.5
The results of experiment I are summarized in table I. The two groups
given limited feeder space had an average daily gain of 1.68 as compared to
1.63 for lots I and 2. Daily feed consumption was also in favor of !he re-
stricted feeder space groups whereas a small advantage in feed efficiency
was associated with the groups given the larger amount of feeder space.
However, it is obvious that the response criteria for both treatment groups
were quite similar which indicates that the restricted feeder space permits
Results of experiment 2 (table 2) indicate that 8 sq. feet of floor space
per pig was adequate. The average daily gain of the two groups given 8 sq.
feet was 1.69 as compared to 1.70 for those given 16 sq. feet per pig. The
differences in feed consumed and feed efficiency for the two treatment groups
were also insignificant.
Bedding for pigs of this initial weight appears advantageous during the
winter months. The average daily gain from December 17 to February II for
lots I, 2, 3 and 4 respectively was 1.66, 1.64, 1.55 and 1.58. By the end
of the experiment the pigs given 8 sq. feet of floor space were gaining at a
comparable rate irrespective of bedding treatment whereas those pigs given
16 sq. feet without bedding were gaining at a slower rate than the pigs with
bedding. Thus it appears that bedding was desirable with those pigs given
16 sq. feet of floor space per pig.
The influence of both restricted feeder and floor space (experiment 3)
is summarized in table 3. The daily gain, feed consumed and feed efficiency
were similar for all treatments. These data tend to confirm the results of
experiments I and 2 and also illustrate that performance is not adversely
influenced by the simultaneous restriction of both floor and feeder space.
Although performance was comparable with feeder and floor space treatments
it should be pointed out that the restricted floor area required more frequent
washing and that closer inspection and more frequent filling of the feeders
was required with the larger number of pigs per feeder hole.
Three experiments were conducted on concrete-floored facilities to study
the response of growing-finishing pigs to variations in feeder space and
floor space. The first experiment involving 80 pigs demonstrated the feasi-
bility of using 6.6 pigs per feeder hole until an average weight of 125 Ibs.
then reducing the number to 5 pigs from 126 Ibs. to market weight.
In experiment 2, 84 pigs were used in illustrating that 8 sq. feet of
floor area per pig permits pigs to gain as rapidly and efficiently as those
given 16 sq. feet of floor area.
The third experiment involving 80 pigs demonstrated that the simultaneous
restriction of both feeder and floor areas to the dimensions used in experiments
I and 2 permitted satisfactory performance. Thus it appears that growing-
finishing pigs may be raised in concrete confinement with a floor allowance
of 8 sq. feet per pig; under these conditions 6.6 pigs per feeder hole (to
125 lb.) and 5 pigs per feeder hole (126 Ib. to market) provides ample
Becker, D. E., S. W. Terrill and A. H. Jensen. 1960. University of Illinois.
Animal Science Report 530.
Heitman, H., L. Hahn, C. F. Kelly and T. E. Bond. 1961. Journal of Animal
Table I. INFLUENCE OF FEEDER SPACE ON PIG PERFORMANCE (EXPT. 1)
Lot No. I 2 3 4
To 125 lb. weight 6.6 6.6 3.3 3.3
126 Ib. to market weight 5 5 2.5 2.5
No. of pigs 20 20 20 20
Av. initial weight, lb. 61.9 61.4 61.3 61.4
Av. final weight, lb. 197.4 196.1 194.7 189.8
Av. daily gain, lb. 1.69 1.68 1.67 1.60
Av. daily feed, Ib. 5.79 5.69 5.54 5.46
Feed/lb. gain, Ib. 3.43 3.39 3.32 3.41
Table 2. INFLUENCE OF FLOOR SPACE ON PIG PERFORMANCE (EXPT. 2)
Lot No. I 2 3 4
Sq. ft./pig 16 8 8 16
Bedding + +
No. of pigs 21 21 21 21
Av. initial weight, lb. 44.3 43.9 43.3 44.6
Av. final weight, lb. 205.0 197.8 197.0 193.7
Av. daily gain, Ib. 1.77 1.69 1.69 1.64
Av. daily feed, lb. 5.98 5.90 5.71 5.47
Feed/lb. gain, lb. 3.39 3.49 3.38 3.34
Table 3. RESPONSE OF GROWING-FINISHING PIG TO VARIATIONS IN FEEDER
SPACE AND FLOOR SPACE (EXPT. 3)
Sq. ft./pig 16 8
Pigs/feeder hole 6.6 3.3 6.6 3.3
No. of pigs 20 20 20 20
Av. initial weight, lb. 47.9 48.0 47.9 48.1
Av. final weight, Ib. 211.4 206.5 203.4 204.7
Av. daily gain, Ib. 1.67 1.62 1.59 1.60
Av. daily feed, Ib. 5.40 5.47 5.15 5.36
Feed/lb. gain, lb. 3.24 3.38 3.24 3.34