The Effects of Dietary Feather Meal Concentration and Space Allocation

2000 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Swine Report. An experiment was conducted to determine the effect of dietary feather meal (FM, 0 and 20% ) and space allocation (8.3 [UC] and 6.2 [C] ft2/ pig) on growth and carcass characteristics of barrows. Control barrows (0% FM and UC) had 10% higher ADFI than gilts (0 % FM and UC), but only 2.6% greater ADG. Crowded barrows fed 20% FM diet from 165 lb to slaughter had decreased ADG and ADFI compared to control barrows. Crowded barrows fed a diet with no FM had a 4.9% reduction in ADFI compared to control barrows, and crowded barrows fed 20% FM diet had an ADFI (8.3% reduction compared to control barrows) similar to gilts. Gilts had improved feed efficiency compared to barrows. Control barrows reached market weight 7 days earlier than gilts, crowded barrows, and crowded barrows fed a 20% FM diet. Control barrows and gilts had similar average daily lean gain while crowded barrows fed 20% FM from 165 lb to slaughter had a decreased average daily lean gain. Gilts had less backfat and larger loin eye area than barrows on all treatments. Gilts also had a higher primal cut percentage and carcass lean percentage than barrows. Crowded barrows had a higher dressing percentage than uncrowded barrows. The combination of crowding and feeding feather meal reduced growth of barrows to a rate similar to gilts, but the improvements in backfat and carcass lean percentage observed previously by feeding feather meal to barrows were not observed in this study. Increasing stocking density is an effective method to decrease growth rate of barrows.