Adaptation and behaviour of finishing pigs to Vachellia tortilis leaf meal inclusion.
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The broad objective of the study was to determine the adaptation and behaviour of pigs fed on incremental levels of Vachellia tortilis leaf meal based diets. Forty-eight clinically healthy male pigs Large White × Landrace with a mean (± SD) body weight of 63.8 ± 3.28 kg were randomly assigned to individual pens in a completely randomized design. Eight pigs were fed on diets that contained 0, 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 g/kg DM of V. tortilis leaf meal. Pigs were fed ad libitum and had free access to clean water throughout the experiment. Average daily feed intake (ADFI), average daily gain (ADG) and gain: feed ratio (G: F) were determined weekly. The adaptation period was calculated at the end of the experiment for each individual pig. Coefficient of variation (CV) of feed intake across V. tortilis leaf meal diets was calculated. Number of visits to the feeder were calculated. The time spent eating, drinking, standing, lying down, sniffing, biting objects and licking objects were observed using six closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) once a week for three days. There was a quadratic decrease (P < 0.001) in ADFI, while ADG increased linearly (P < 0.001) with incremental level of V. tortilis leaf meal. Incremental level of V. tortilis leaf meal increased G: F ratio quadratically (P < 0.001). A linear increase in adaptation period of pigs was observed (P < 0.05) with increasing inclusion level of V. tortilis leaf meal. The variation of feed intake, expressed as a coefficient of variation, increased linearly (P < 0.05) with increasing inclusion level of V. tortilis leaf meal. Increasing inclusion levels of V. tortilis leaf meal linearly iii decreased time spent eating, lying down and the number of visit to the feeder (P < 0.05). Time spent standing and biting objects increased linearly with increasing inclusion level of V. tortilis leaf meal (P < 0.05). There was no relationship (P > 0.05) between V. tortilis leaf meal inclusion and time spent drinking, sniffing and licking of objects. It can be concluded that pigs require a long time to adapt to Vachellia diets. Increasing levels of V. tortilis leaf meal also alters time spent on behavioural patterns of pigs.