Space Allocation Decisions for Barrows and Gilts

University of Nebraska 1997 Swine Day Report. An experiment was conducted to determine if barrow and gilt performance could be modified by varying pen space allocation for each sex and whether performance of barrows given less space per pig could be enhanced with a more nutrient-dense diet. Barrows given 6 ft2 of pen space per pig consumed less feed and grew slower with no effect on lean gain compared to barrows provided 7 ft2 of pen space per pig. Increasing diet nutrient density by feeding the diet sequence recommended for gilts to barrows had no effect on performance for barrows at 6 ft2 per pig. No differences in performance or carcass measurements were found when space allocation for gilts was increased from 7 to 8 ft2 per pig. These results suggest that instead of stocking all-in/all-out (AIAO) managed grow-finish facilities at 7 ft2 per pig for both barrows and gilts, growth rate of barrows can be restricted to match that of gilts if barrows are given 6 ft2 and gilts 8 ft2 of pen space per pig. For producers with barns of 500 head capacity managed AIAO, this manipulation of barrow growth results in increased numbers of barrows and gilts of the same weight at the same time, thus increasing producer marketing options.