Journal article Open Access
Matías, J; García, A; González, D; García-Gudiño, J; Hernández-García, FI; Izquierdo, M
Before the free-ranging, acorn-feeding finishing period (montanera), Iberian pigs are feed-restricted during the so-called premontanera. With the aim of increasing animal welfare during this period, three different diets with increasing levels of fibre (5.0 %, 8.5 % and 12.0 %; the 2 latter including rice husk, an underutilized byproduct) were evaluated during the premontanera period from 9 to 13 months of age in Iberian pigs. Animal welfare was evaluated using the Welfare Quality© test. None of the treatment groups had diarrheic problems, despite the relatively high level of fibre in the rice husk-containing diets. Body weight at the end of premontanera did not vary significantly among the 3 treatments. However, body weight gain from the 2nd month of treatment up to the end of premontanera was significantly higher for the treatment having the highest fibre level than for the other treatments. These preliminary results suggest that supplementation with high levels of fibre (12 %) from rice husk could increase the welfare level of Iberian pigs during premontanera, thus providing an alternative use for this important agricultural byproduct.